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[GreenYes] Re: "zero waste" plastic alternatives to paper

Hi Kate - 

Here are some excellent thoughts from a posting done by Tania Levy of the City of Berkeley on CRRA's listserve.  

Mary Lou Van Deventer 
Urban Ore 
Berkeley, CA 


On Aug 22, 2008, at 1:58 PM, Levy, Tania wrote:

Thanks for sharing. I must be missing something in the logic here.
It seems that this company (plus Sen Kerry and Brad Pitt) hear the word "recycle" and think no farther.
If this process works as described:
 Some random papers are made from plastic, The products are sent or given to a "consumer". This resident or business receptionist  looks closely enough at his junk mail, greeting card envelope or magazine to recognize that it's plastic, cares enough about carpet to  put the label (and stamp?) on it, and leave it for the postman to pickup and ship cross country to the carpet facility.
 Say the "consumer"  keeps the book or magazine for a while - of course he has saved the label to send it back, and has informed his housemates, cleaning person, etc. of its special treatment. 
Excuse me - who has the time to do this?  And why?
Say people do respond. Then, the postal service delivers tons of loose plastic papers to Shaw (extra trips), postage paid - at 41 cents per ounce they pay $13,000 per ton shipping cost.  
In Reality: people will toss it into their paper recycling bin (if not the trash), the MRF will sort it (if it's recognizeable) and discard it. Can it be recycled with plastic bottles or bags?????  Or the mechanical and human sorters will not recognize it, and it will remain in the paper to make more work for the paper mill.  
Who will pay for the extra work, extra sorter on the paper line, etc.???
TOO MANY LOOPS, uncertainties, inefficiencies, and costs, with no visible incentives for people to do this much work. 
AND WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE HERE?  Paper is easy to recycle.  
Why not just make your paper products  from recycled fiber, or something compatible with recycling, then recycle it locally with  the other  papers??
Why doesn't Shaw make their carpet from plastic that is already available in bulk, delivered clean and ready to use - like PET bottles?

On Aug 25, 2008, at 1:05 PM, Kate wrote:

Hi all,

I'm not entirely sure what to think about this new business venture of
ReProduct: The company claims a 100% recyclable,
lower impact product. The products are greeting cards, annual reports
and other marketing mateirals that are made, not from paper, but from
polypropylene. The products are recycled through Shaw into new carpet
but do not need to go through the de-inking process.

I'm skeptical about petro-chemical products but I'm skeptical about
forestry practices as well. I'm also concerned about mixing plastics
into the paper recycling process. They've done an LCA but I'm not sure
hwo to tell if it's legitimate.

Anybody know anything or have thoughts on these products?

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