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Dan Knapp asked me to forward these comments to
this listserve. I don't agree with all that is
said below, but welcome the dialog for us to
sharpen our thinking on how we communicate about Zero Waste for the future.
>To: Gary Liss <email@example.com>
>From: Mary Lou Van Deventer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 16:58:58 -0800
>Subject: Re: [CRRA] Fairfax, CA (Marin County)
>Passed Zero Waste Resolution on 3-7-07
>Respected colleagues -
>Congratulations on another Zero Waste goal passed!
>But many readers of the accompanying rhetoric
>will be confused, as we were, by the
>either-or/one-best-option logic that is embedded
>in but not argued out in the post's succeeding
>discussion. This is not the first place that
>Zero Waste has been presented as an alternative
>to and replacement for recycling. The either-or
>framing is clear in ?recycling is not the
>solution to our long-term problems.? [Our
>bolding.] This confusion first appeared years
>ago, and it sets up an unnecessary conflict
>within the collection of industries that we have
>and will become. It?s a PR trainwreck. Maybe
>it was first devised by Karl Rove and has been
>inserted into our discussions as
>disinformation. It is either an unintentional
>framing glitch or sophistry to implant this
>change of mind without clear argumentation.
>Let the issue be joined, again.
>There is no ?the? single, easy, magic-bullet
>solution to our complex problems, and watch out
>for anybody who suggests any such thing. There
>is only a complex of solutions, and all are required for success.
>Zero Waste is NOT EVEN A NEW IDEA. Rather, it
>is a long-awaited EXPRESSION OF THE ORIGINAL
>3-Rs HIERARCHY ? a development of the first R in
>the structure that we have for thirty years
>called ?Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.? It?s about
>time somebody started working on it as a career;
>and although it?s late to the party, it is still
>welcome, as it has been always.
>But the latecomer may not rudely insult the
>first-comers - just take a piece of pie and be
>friendly. We refer to facile thoughtless
>slogans such as ?recycling is so last century?
>and ?recycling is so end-of-pipe? and ?recycling
>can?t do it all by itself? and even ?recycling has failed.?
>Let us all appreciate Recyling, the first urgent
>expression of our original Zero Waste dream from
>1970, the past and future replacement for
>wasting after Reducing and Reusing have done their work.
>We have known for decades that our whole
>movement began by bending the end of the
>resource-flow pipe and is now working
>upward. The first development: we bent the pipe
>away from wasting for cans, bottles, and paper
>to let the clean refined resources flow back
>into production feedstock ports instead of into
>the landflll. So now that part of the resource
>pipe has no end! We are still working on
>bending the pipe for many other categories of discards.
>And DON?T CALL THEM WASTE! Unless they get wasted.
>This is not a mere catch-phrase, not ?just
>semantics.? Terms of the trade are a critical
>conceptual framework that structures thinking,
>and if recyclers don?t know it, the garbage
>industry and their trade associations certainly
>do. They say so to each other on their websites
>and in their explicit instructions to each other
>for how to use terminology. Waste is precisely
>what resources are not! Garbage really is
>manufactured from otherwise recyclable
>resources. Surely you know this by now. Why
>suck up to the wasters by accepting their
>framework, which undermines ours? Our industry
>is bigger than theirs, and better, and is the future.
>The wasting industry is the only one whose pipe has an end.
>We worked up the pipe to Reuse. There?s still a
>lot of work to do there, too, as Urban Ore knows
>well. WHEN we expand Reuse, its market niche is
>to remove objects from the discard supply going
>to Recycling. Nobody should whine. This market
>position is built into the Reuse, Recycle part
>of the hierarchy. Recycling will still be
>necessary for discarded resources that cannot be reused.
>AT LAST we are working farther toward the
>beginning of the resource-flow pipe to Reduce
>discards and asssure that they are nontoxic and
>recyclable. We will protect the Earth?s wild
>places, virgin resource supplies, air, land, and
>water by making manufacturers redesign products
>to use recycled feedstocks; to use nontoxic
>feedstocks; and to be repairable and
>recyclable. One METHOD of achieving these
>objectives is to make manufacturers take
>responsibility for their products at the end of
>their useful life. WHEN the products are
>finally discarded, as they will be, THEY WILL
>STILL NEED RECYCLING, which may require
>dismantling, sorting, sending to diverse
>markets, ALL THE THINGS WE RECYCLERS DO.
>NEXT we can look at mining and forestry
>practices. Those industries waste so much of
>the Earth that their problems dwarf the
>post-consumer flows. Some recyclers may think
>this work would get into another field, but
>that?s just a question of where the joints are
>in THE ONE GREAT BRANCHING RESOURCE PIPE.
>Of course, all of the Reduce, Reuse, and
>Recycling industries have begun this work of
>reducing the impacts of mining and forestry by
>starting at the only end the resource pipe has ?
>the landfill ? and bending it back into
>production intake ports. But the end of the
>pipe was only the beginning of our work.
>We mustn?t let ourselves be misdirected by
>letting anyone introduce any either-or-ness into
>our long-cherished vision of resource circles.
>THE UNIFIED RESOURCE THEORY WE HAVE ALL KNOWN SINCE EARTH DAY 1970:
>Reducing + Reusing + Recycling = Zero Waste
>Let?s move forward ? follow the Reducing path
>while developing the Reusing and Recycling
>paths, especially the Recycling subset of
>composting. Let?s be sure municipalities
>provide us with land for growth, and with the
>ability to compete with wasting by collecting
>variable service fees to underwrite our
>beneficial and beneficiating replacements for
>mining technologies. Let?s be sure the
>resource-based manufacturing regulations and
>discard-fee structures encourage Reducing,
>Reusing, and Recycling. Wasting should always
>be the most expensive disposal option.
>There?s so much to do to keep bending the pipe!
>Dan Knapp and
>Mary Lou Van Deventer
>PS - The modern Zero Waste Movement originated
>in Canberra, Australia, in a government bureau
>that fashioned the first Zero Waste Goal for
>Parliament to pass, which it did. They focused
>initially on materials recovery, on providing
>space for businesses to dry up the flow of
>resources to two local landfills, which were
>located, as they are here, at the headwaters of
>two of the only creeks this extremely dry area
>has. They built big resource recovery parks,
>including buildings dedicated to reuse and other
>forms of recovery. They called them
>?purpose-built resource recovery estates.? We
>are going to Australia next month and may visit
>Canberra to see how they are doing. If we do, we?ll keep you posted.
>On Mar 8, 2007, at 11:06 AM, Gary Liss wrote:
>>Apologies for Cross-Postings
>>>From: "Bruce Baum" <email@example.com>
>>>Subject: Fairfax Passes ZW resolution
>>>Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 10:00:09 -0800
>>Some positive news from Fairfax??..Last night
>>at the town council Fairfax became the first
>>Marin town to adopt a Zero Waste by 2020
>>Resolution (attached): Mayor Larry Bragman
>>introduced the resolution for approval. Vote was 4-1
>>For more information I can be reached at 707-459-5859
>>ZW Citizens Advisory Committee
>>Some quick points on ZW that were made last evening:
>>Zero Waste is a philosophy and a design
>>principle for the 21st Century. It includes
>>'recycling' but goes beyond recycling by taking
>>a 'whole system' approach to the vast flow of
>>resources and waste through human society.
>>Zero Waste maximizes recycling, minimizes
>>waste, reduces consumption and ensures that
>>products are made to be reused, repaired or
>>recycled back into nature or the marketplace.
>>· In 2002 CIWMB adopted a goal of Zero
>>Waste as one of it?s guiding
>>· Cities and counties around the state
>>have adopted ZW resolutions including model
>>programs in SF & Palo Alto Most municipalities
>>in the Bay Area have also adopted ZW
>>resolutions and strategies. (Oakland recently passed theirs). None in Marin!
>> * November, 2006 Marin County?s Solid waste
>> JPA passed a ZW resolution with a 2020 goal
>> that Fairfax, a JPA member, agreed to.
>> * ?Zero Waste, The Complement to
>> Sustainability for Fairfax?, was approved by
>> the Planning Commission March 2006.
>> * Fairfax took leadership over 10 years ago
>> --- when Fairfax adopted the first retail food
>> polystyrene take out regulations in Marin.
>> * Recycling was last century?s solution to
>> garbage while Marin?s numbers may be
>> impressive, they are very misleading,
>> Recycling is not the solution to our long term problems.
>> * ZW is about looking at the other end of
>> the pipe from recycling. Simply put source
>> reduction, including producer responsibility,
>> reuse, recycling, and composting.
>> * Fairfax, took the leadership role in
>> Marin County as first municipality in Marin to adopt a ZW resolution. --
>to save the environment
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