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[GreenYes] good questions on plastics recycling


I encourage you to view Point of Return at:

"Point of Return, a 17 minute video documentary, illustrates what happens to recyclables generally after they leave the curb and explores sustainable choices with regard to local, regional, and international consequences. Using Oakland, Northern California, and the Pacific Rim as a case study, Point of Return looks at economic policy and land use planning. This documentary raises the profile of these issues among the general public, elected officials, and other decision makers. Point of Return moves beyond the current feel good level of comprehension and shows what recycling actually means to society."

Once you view this DVD, I urge you to include it in any articles you do on this subject.   Thanks!

Gary Liss
Zero Waste consultant

At 03:27 PM 8/31/2007, Brenda Platt wrote:
Hi all,

The email below from Joelle Novey at Co-Op America poses some excellent questions concerning recycling plastics.  Does anyone have data on this? either from a national perspective or from their local/state perspective?  I'm very interested in this issue too, so please email Joelle and me directly on this.  Joelle is not on the listserv.

Thanks in advance.


Brenda Platt
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
927 15th Street, NW, 4th Fl
Washington, DC  20005
202-898-1610 ext. 230



I'm writing at the suggestion of Ann Leonard over at the Environmental
Grantmakers. I'm writing from the publications department at Co-op
America, where we're doing research for the next issue of the Co-op
America Quarterly about waste and recycling issues.

I'm hoping you can help because I'm having quite a hard time coming by
any reliable numbers about what happens nationally to the plastics
Americans "recycle."

I would like to be able to tell our readers:

1. what percentage of the plastics in their recycling bins get rejected
by the MRFs and are ultimately sent to a US landfill or incinerator.

2. Then, of those plastics recovered by the MRF and sold for
"recycling," what percentage are shipped overseas? (To what countries?)

3. And then, of those that are sent to other countries, what percentages
of these items are ultimately recycled into some other useful product
rather than dumped?

4. If the numbers are very different for different grades of plastics,
I'd be interested in those numbers too.

I would really like to be able to tell our members what is happening to
the plastics in their recycling bins -- where are these things going,
and what is being done with them?  Can you recommend any reputable
resources that have looked at this in a systematic way? I'll look
forward to hearing from you!

In cooperation,

Joelle G. Novey, Editorial Associate
Co-op America: Economic Action for a Just Planet
1612 K St NW Washington DC 20006

Gary Liss
Gary Liss & Associates
4395 Gold Trail Way
Loomis, CA  95650-8929
Fax: 916-652-0485

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