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[GreenYes] Re: market downturn

Interesting exchange, you two.

There is a competing model, and it's up and running now in Crescent City, CA.  Kevin Hendrick and Tedd Ward are the guiding geneii (plural of genius).  Urban Ore did the site plan as subs to Gary Liss, Associates -- actually we supplied three different site plans, because the first two proposed sites didn't work out.  Kevin and Tedd are making it work.  The transfer complex is not complete yet; 9 acres done, 5 acres still to be built out, but it looks great and it's very popular with the customers.  The significant thing about it is that it uses rates to unscramble and clean up resources, not after-mixing machinery.  The rate structure at this place is the most complex I've ever seen, and it is set up to permit people to enter, dump, return to the scales, pay another fee, dump again, and so on, all at separate places designed to keep things clean and reward effective recycling behavior.  It's rural, and small, but the principles for delivering clean resource streams are the same as the ones Urban Ore has been using for years in a much more urban context.  Unfortunately, Berkeley is saddled with a dysfunctional first-generation transfer station complex and a public works management structure that seems bent on repeating many of the errors of the solid waste management profession.  But we're still in the early stages of the rebuild process, and I remain hopeful we can be a positive influence going forward.

Dan Knapp
Urban Ore, Inc.
On Nov 20, 2008, at 10:02 AM, Helen Spiegelman wrote:

Thank you for staying with this important conversation, Eric. I offer responses below:

At 10:31 AM 11/19/2008, Eric Lombardi wrote:

With the greatest respect for Helen and all dedicated producer responsibility advocates ? I have waited to respond to this to see what sort of emails might surface from others.   Unfortunately, not many?


Helen, I hear you, but I don?t see a 3-Bin World being incompatible with an EPR World.   If the industrial designers of the world redesign everything to be either reusable, recyclable or compostable (our goal, ya?), then we?ll still need a discard collection system from homes and businesses. 

The challenge, Eric, is that it is unlikely that there will ever be a single "discard collection system" that is capable of dealing with "everything." Theere is so much diversity in "everything." Each thing has particular requirements in handling. The model of "discard collection from homes and businesses" was invented with a homogeneous stream in mind. It works better for homogeneous materials -- paper products, for instance -- but as soon as you start broadening the stream problems begin. The practicalities of managing this diverse stream in a "mass transit" system are unsurmountable. I remain convinced that we need a different model for recovering discards. 

Any packaging or product that isn?t Zero Waste compatible would then go into the Landfill Bin, sent through a Residue Process that would then ?identify? the villain and a big tax is slapped on them.   If you want to get glass bottles out of the recycling bin and into the refillables box, then go for it!  

I'm with you here. How about if we develop a "checklist" of essential policy instruments for Zero Waste - things that a community that adopts a Zero Waste Resolution can do to measure progress towards Zero. The first thing on the list would be disposal bans and economic penalties for wasting recyclable products. 

As for refillable glass, this option can't compete against publicly subsidized wasting programs (which in my opinion include recycling as well as landfill disposal: single-use glass has the highest environmental footprint of any beverage package.) We need to withdraw the subsidy for single-use glass by refusing to provide public collection programs. These should be subject to mandatory deposit/refund systems, and the producers who use one-way glass should be required to pay a Pigovian tax reflecting the environmental cost of this choice.


As for the big stuff like e-scrap, appliances, etc etc ? then EPR is much easier there.  That stuff doesn?t go in the 3-Bins anyway.

The question will always be: what does go in the 3-Bins? How about empty lipstick tubes? Old running shoes? That electric blanket? 

We have a huge job ahead of us chasing after all these pieces of the problem because they, collectively, add up to the Big Stuff. The limits of the 3-Bins looms sooner than we think.


My question to you is that if you don?t like the ?3-Bin with EPR? World, and you don?t like what Germany has created ? then what do you like and has anyone done it yet?   Please paint us a picture of how your ideal community deals with discards ?

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