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[GreenYes] Re: [OrganicsOutOfLandfills] [GreenYes] Garbage is NOT RenewableEnergy

Hi all,
This is not an accurate characterization of the campaign and GRRN's position.
We do not say methane capture is bad. On the contrary, a centerpiece of our campaign is that it should be mandatory.  Visit
Our position is that methane from garbage is not "renewable" and therefore it should not receive the same financial incentives given to wind and solar power.   This is not a controversial position.
The greatest barrier to achieving Zero Waste is not technological. No, not at all.  That's the easy part. If industry can make a Blackberry with more processing power than the computers that sent the Apollo astronauts to the moon, then we can and will design waste out of the system.
Then what's our challenge?  The greatest barrier to Zero Waste is the institutional, cultural, and economic incentives embedded in the fabric of our society that encourage and reward wasting.  Those must be reversed and should not be underestimated.
Therefore, the costs of pollution remediation and managing the downstream impacts of garbage generation should not come out of the pot of money set aside to develop renewable sources of wind and solar energy. It is laughable to produce garbage, bury it, capture the methane and then claim this activity is a "carbon offset" that makes it OK to drive your car around. 
Best Regards,
Linda Christopher
Executive Director
GrassRoots Recycling Network
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 9:31 AM
Subject: RE: [OrganicsOutOfLandfills] [GreenYes] Garbage is NOT RenewableEnergy

Our battle was to not give carbon credits to landfills to bury "sequester" organics.
But using the methane from what's already there - why not? 
-----Original Message-----
From: OrganicsOutOfLandfills@no.addresscom []On Behalf Of Mark Bowers
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 3:59 PM
To:; OrganicsOutOfLandfills@no.addresscom; p2@no.address;;;; ZeroWasteCommunities@no.addresscom;; zwia@no.addresscom
Subject: Re: [OrganicsOutOfLandfills] [GreenYes] Garbage is NOT RenewableEnergy

Folks, I think you are throwing the baby out with the bath water, here.
By trying to impose an overly idealized notion of how waste is created and handled you are proposing to financially punish environmentally beneficial projects that convert methane to usable forms of energy.
Our Power Generation Facility takes methane captured from a landfill that closed 14 years ago, combines it with digester gas methane from our sewage treatment process and makes electricity.  If not produced this way, that electricity would have to come from a power plant fired by natural gas or nuclear fission.  And you're saying that what we are doing is bad and that we shouldn't get a small financial boost from selling the associated RECs?
Just like "stuff" happens, methane happens. I think that in taking such a broad-based position on RECs you risk damaging worthwhile energy capture projects and risk alienating current allies--like me!
Mark Bowers
Solid Waste Program Manager
City of Sunnyvale, California

On 11/12/2007 at 3:13 PM, Gary Liss <gary@no.addresscom> wrote:

Apologies for Cross-postings

From: "Eric Lombardi" <eric@no.addressorg>
Subject: [GreenYes] please spread the word ... don't buy garbage-based REC's!!
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 13:38:06 -0700
GRRN has launched a new campaign about buying renewable energy credits (RECs) that are NOT from garbage-based energy, such as landfill gas or incineration.   The campaign, Garbage is NOT Renewable Energy, is described briefly in the press release below, which I would encourage everyone to forward to anyone you know that is buying RECs.   Also, send folks to the GRRN website where there is a LOT more good technical information on this topic. (

For Immediate Release-- Friday, September 14, 2007
National Movement to Stop Buying Energy from Garbage:
Zero Waste Advocates say renewable energy credits may be supporting the destruction of natural resources and the polluting practices of burning and burying garbage.
The GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) warns that
well-meaning public and business leaders working to offset their carbon emissions may be inadvertently spending money on renewable energy credits (RECs) that support the destruction of natural resources and the polluting practices of burning and burying garbage.
Landfill and incineration industries have lobbied to have the greenhouse gas emissions from their facilities considered "green energy," worthy of tax credits similar to the ones given to solar and wind energy projects. In fact, "garbage-to-energy" is now being legally classified in numerous states as a "renewable" energy source. Eric Lombardi,
GRRN Board President says This is in direct opposition to the goal of the Zero Waste Movement -- to eliminate waste, not enshrine it as a renewable resource.

GRRN Board Member Carly Weir says Giving tax credits and subsidies to the garbage industry competes against wind, solar and recycling projects, and creates a financial reward for producing garbage and destroying natural resources. In the battle against climate change, we need to act decisively against waste and greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating, not just reducing these sources, and giving priority to clean, carbon-free energy.

GRRN asserts that ultimately reducing waste is still the best decision for the environment and the economy. Communities and institutions would be better served by committing to zero waste goals and keeping compostable organics out of the landfill in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally consumers and institutions can purchase RECs from carbon offset companies that provide waste-free energy.

GRRN has a list of waste-free carbon offset and renewable energy providers along with action steps for college and institutions at

For more information visit for facts and supporting documentation.
For quotes or information contact:

Eric Lombardi, GRRN Board President  (303) 444-6634
Carly Weir, GRRN Board Secretary (970) 668-5703
Linda Christopher, GRRN Executive Director  (707) 321-7883

Gary Liss       
Fax: 916-652-0485

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