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[GreenYes] RE: [ZWIA] Re: LA Zero Waste pans

Hi Gerry and all,


This has been a fruitful global discussion.  Since GRRN and Eco-Cycle have been actively creating and presenting workshops about “Zero Waste Community Planning,” I want to continue to tap this online brain-trust to create two things: (1) as I said before, we need a “bridge strategy”, and (2) as this group discussion has shown, we need to establish a clear and simple “5-Point Platform for a Zero Waste Future” … or some wording like that.


(1)     Bridge Strategy … what I heard is the following …

a.       Getting to 70% Discard Recovery is easy, and more a matter of political will than economics or technology;

b.       Getting from 70-90% is harder and will require increased levels of participation from industry in the design and recovery of their products;

c.       The last 10% of “mixed waste” will be with us until we all hit the 90% level, and then at that point the world will be a very different place and the solution to this last 10% will emerge in ways we can’t imagine today. 

d.       Processing of this ever-shrinking 30% mixed waste will NOT be incineration or any capital-intensive technology… rather it will be a simple MANDATE to stabilize the organic fraction and then bury it in a dry tomb landfill.  Simple windrow composting would accomplish this, and the dirty stabilized material could then be used as daily cover.  This is NOT a good long-term solution, and that is the point… that without source separation, there is NO good solution for mixed waste.

e.       Upstream …. We must make the purchase of “toxic, non-recyclable and non-compostable products” a social taboo… like smoking cigarettes has become.  Just as we are all proud of our “green” products, we must now define what “non-green products are so that they can be as easily avoided as green products are to find.


(2)     ZW Futures Platform … a few points to get started … each point needs to be expanded … but… let’s keep it simple:

a.       Healthy Soils is our vision for biodegradable discards;

b.       Resource Conservation and Energy Use Reduction is our vision for recycling our dry discards;

c.       A “double bottom line” financial accounting system which includes both profit AND community benefit (environment and jobs) is the appropriate framework to compare different discard management options;  (My mantra has been “waste is a social issue first and a market issue second”)

d.       Product Design and Producers Responsibility is AS IMPORTANT AS Downstream Recovery systems;


I’ll stop there …and let the next creative step begin. 




-----Original Message-----
From: zwia@no.address [mailto:zwia@no.address] On Behalf Of Gillespie Gerry
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 11:12 PM
To: Eric Lombardi; jeff.morris@no.address; hspie@no.address; ricanthony@no.address; zerowaste_sd@no.address; zwia@no.address; gaia-zero-waste@no.address; GreenYes@no.address; crra_members@no.address
Subject: [ZWIA] Re: LA Zero Waste pans




Sorry to be slow to respond – I have been out west for the last few days.


We are currently working on a model to move composted products into agriculture where the urban waste stream would be only one part of the input products.


I will try to get a few dots points together based around the recent conversation if we could all do the same perhaps we could run some form of ‘affinity’ process where they were all pulled together – this may result in a few very simple phrases we could use around the world.


Common ground is a very important point because it gives us a single voice.


Talk to you soon.




From: Eric Lombardi [mailto:eric@no.address]
Sent: Tuesday, 29 January 2008 11:17 AM
To: Gillespie Gerry; jeff.morris@no.address; hspie@no.address; ricanthony@no.address; zerowaste_sd@no.address; zwia@no.address; gaia-zero-waste@no.address; GreenYes@no.address; crra_members@no.address
Subject: RE: [ZWIA] Re: LA Zero Waste pans


Hey mate,


Your points are spot on… so … we need to bring it all together into something that creates a simple vision for the masses.  I am currently in discussions about the “slogan” and the “hook” for the new GRRN campaign we’re launching in April called COOL2012…”Compostable Organics Out of Landfill by 2012”.   We have decided that the healthy soils/water/CO2 capture/local food angles are all important… but how to pull it together into a winning soundbite?   We are going to make a major link with global warming and the landfill industry bullshit on gas capture… but that is all very technical.   That is why I have always loved your City to Soil program down there in Australia … and I use in my conversation often with elected leaders.   Recently I’ve been thinking about bringing something like switchgrass into the “circle” since it could be one of the best biofuel alternatives to oil, and, it grows in marginal lands, and… with the application of compost it REALLY produces.   So not only do we lower GHG methane by keeping biodegradables out of the ground, but we also grow biofuels to replace oil … now THAT is a virtuous circle !!!


What do you think?





-----Original Message-----
From: Gillespie Gerry [mailto:Gerry.Gillespie@no.address]
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 2:55 PM
To: jeff.morris@no.address; eric@no.address; hspie@no.address; ricanthony@no.address; zerowaste_sd@no.address; zwia@no.address; gaia-zero-waste@no.address; GreenYes@no.address; crra_members@no.address
Subject: RE: [ZWIA] Re: LA Zero Waste pans


Dear all,


I agree with Eric and Jeff.


To back up all the points from Helen, Eric and Jeff can I suggest that a focus on the return of organic material to the food chain must defeat incineration in the long run.


No matter where you are in the world the organic fraction of your soils is falling rapidly.


You in the northern hemisphere may have started with a lot more organic material in your soils than we had in Australia but with sheer guts and determination you will reach the same point.


A report from the UK in 2001 stated that the soils in the UK are unstable due to a lack of organic material. This was confirmed with the DEFRA Soil Strategy released in 2004. The silly thing is that the same Department which looks after the Soil Strategy looks after waste.


The only things which will burn in an incinerator are organic in origin – the vast majority of this material is compostable and retriveable by source separation.


The increase in the price of fossil fuel will make fertiliser much more expensive – in rural Australia it just hit $1000 per tonne. This is driving the farming market in the direction of compost and biologically active fluid products.


I feel that if we can shift the argument over to concentrate of organic recovery it defeats incineration because there is nothing to burn and it defeats landfill because the only reason we were burying it in the first place was because of the “yuk” factor.


Moving the argument over from waste disposal and solving a ‘problem’ to agricultural protection and taking and ‘opportunity’ is going to be a very sound argument now that chemical fertiliser has hit the wall.


Even in Australia now there are more calls for incineration – we need a broad strategy.


Could I suggest that a combination of Helen’s comments on the needs of nature, Eric’s points on source separation and Jeff’s on the 30% residual could all be combined under an organics protection banner which takes us in the direction of a carbon economy.


Perhaps if we all worked toward a 5 point plan for resource protection we could have a world-wide document defining the Zero Waste in all countries around the world against mixed waste incineration and disposal to landfill.





From: zwia@no.address [mailto:zwia@no.address] On Behalf Of Jeffrey Morris
Sent: Friday, 25 January 2008 8:02 AM
To: eric@no.address; hspie@no.address; ricanthony@no.address; zerowaste_sd@no.address; zwia@no.address; gaia-zero-waste@no.address; GreenYes@no.address; crra_members@no.address
Subject: [ZWIA] Re: LA Zero Waste pans


Hey Eric,

Thanks for making the effort to put this argument together.  I would add a couple of points to your list:

1. Many of the products left in that 30% are in fact made up of fossil fuel material that will generate GHGs when burned – e.g., plastics, rubber, paints and pesticides.  This is why incinerators even with energy recovery are net GHG emitters even after taking into account the electric power grid offsets from the electricity that incinerators generate.

2. Production of incineration equipment and emissions control equipment that make up the incinerator facility, as well as the fuel and other energy consumed in constructing the incinerator, are also sources of GHG emissions.

3. composting done correctly should emit little GHGs, although the equipment and energy to operate a compost facility will be GHG sources.  However, the cost of a compost facility compared with the cost on an incinerator indicates the relative amount of GHGs for a composting operation versus an incineration disposal facility.


What do you think?



From: zwia@no.address [mailto:zwia@no.address] On Behalf Of Eric Lombardi
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 12:36 PM
To: hspie@no.address; ricanthony@no.address; zerowaste_sd@no.address; zwia@no.address; gaia-zero-waste@no.address; GreenYes@no.address; crra_members@no.address
Subject: [ZWIA] Re: LA Zero Waste pans


Helen is right, and I just got an email from Scotland that their “ZW Scotland” will include 25% efw.


I suggest we come up with a position on how to build the bridge to a ZW Future.  Since 90%+ resource recovery isn’t going to happen immediately, we need to advocate for a positive solution to the remaining mixed waste fraction.   “They” out there are saying “it’s a waste to NOT make energy out of it”… and in today’s world that is a very compelling and logical position.  If we don’t like that, than what is our alternative?


Let me share what I’ve been saying to counter the efw proponents … (just did it this morning) … and I know this isn’t the preferred future we are all working for, but I do present it as a “bridge” strategy:

1.      Source separated community MSW is the cleanest and cheapest way to manage 70% of the community’s discards, and this has been proven in numerous communities;

2.      The remaining 30% of mixed waste will be gradually phased down to only 10% over about a ten year period (in truth no one has done this yet so we don’t know how long it will take), and while we’re getting there we will process the material at the landfill either through (1) an energy-producing anaerobic digestion system and then using the stabilized digestate as daily cover (this approach is for big cities that can afford it); or (2) a simple windrow composting system that will stabilize the biowaste fraction of the mixed waste, and then again use as daily cover.   After ten years, there will no more than 10% mixed waste, maybe even zero (but I doubt it), and it will continue to be processed and stabilized. 

3.      This approach will triple or more the life of the existing landfill infrastructure in America, and it’s possible that no new landfills or incinerators need be built for the next 100 years, if ever.


Since there is a flood of new incinerator and “bioreactor” proposals popping up all around us, I suggest that the above argument combined with a moratorium for five years on new incinerators and landfills is a winner.  We need to argue that there is no sense in moving forward with the multi-million dollar facilities to bury and burn our resources until after a serious pursuit of 70% has been implemented.   


Feedback?  Where is this argument weak?  My goal is to stop the flow of investments into the new bury/burn facilities, so what else can we do to accomplish that?




Eric Lombardi

Executive Director

Eco-Cycle Inc

5030 Pearl St.

Boulder, CO. 80301



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-----Original Message-----
From: zwia@no.address [mailto:zwia@no.address] On Behalf Of Helen Spiegelman
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 10:24 AM
To: ricanthony@no.address; zerowaste_sd@no.address; zwia@no.address; gaia-zero-waste@no.address; GreenYes@no.address; crra_members@no.address
Subject: [ZWIA] Re: LA Zero Waste pans


There is a dragon coiled in these paragraphs.

Our metro politicians made a momentous decision this week to cancel a huge landfill project. The political buy-in was achieved through the promise that we can build a suite of 3 - 6 waste-to-energy plants here in the region to manage "what cannot be further recycled or composted..." Our regional staff have even hijacked the "Zero Waste Challenge" issued by our politicians and are saying that WTE is a component of ZW.

Citizens in our region are getting organized to challenge this. We all know that an incinerator ~ or any facility that turns waste to any kind of "fuel" ~ is a tapeworm that will suck more and more resources that are needed to build a healthy economy (or needed to stay right where they are in nature...)

Activities that facilitate the transformation of material to energy is what is driving climate change.

Please assure me and the citizens of LA that your Zero Waste plan doesn't have a waste-to-"fuel" provision.


At 08:44 AM 1/24/2008, ricanthony@no.address wrote:

Whatever cannot be further recycled or composted from the department's 750,000 weekly customers could be turned into alternative

such as biodiesel or electricity to power our grid, said Alex Helou, assistant director for the city's Bureau of Sanitation.

"Instead of just burying it in the ground and creating greenhouse gases, we could use it as a resource to recycle, reuse and convert into a resource that could create clean energy," said Helou.

It's too early to say how much money the city could make from these alternative fuels, but there is definite potential to generate revenue, Pereira said.

Already Long Beach converts garbage into electricity for its residents. And it uses about 100 tons of trash from Los Angeles a day to do it and also charges $42.50 a ton to take our garbage, said Helou.

But by using Los Angeles garbage to create energy for our city, we can also reduce our costs instead of subsidizing Long Beach, Helou said.





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