Blogs

Pending Federal EPR Legislation Would Damage or Destroy US Recycling Industry

By Neil Seldman, Institute for Local Self-Reliance and NCRA Member, 8/30/19 – Excerpts and bolding by Dan Knapp of Urban Ore
In August federal bills on plastic pollution and Zero Waste were put forward in Congress by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Representative Alan Lowenthall (D-Calif.) and Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn). Neither can come close to moving forward given the make-up of the Senate and the veto power of the president. Yet they can establish a blueprint for progressive steps in the future. However, some fine-tuning is needed to ensure that well-intended legislation does not actually make it harder to move forward toward recyclers’ goals.

 

“The call for a national EPR system is a serious mistake. Recycling is not dying and a radical effort to turn the recycling sector over to the companies that generate waste is uncalled for. It turns out that the demand for U.S. recyclables is strong in the U.S. and overseas. There is a scramble by foreign investors, led by the Chinese, to build paper and plastics recycling plants throughout the U.S. and ship clean materials to home factories. U.S. companies are vying for these materials as well. An estimated 20 new recycled paper mills are under construction in the U.S. at this time in every part of the country. Cities are converting to dual stream and small single stream processing which generate clean materials to meet these markets….”

 

… “Organized citizen and small business activism has been the key to the start up and growth of recycling in the U.S. and remains so to this day, starting with drop off centers, moving quickly to community based collection systems, then to eventual adoption by cities and counties. The citizens’ recycling movement merged with the hugely successful anti garbage incineration movement in the 1980s and the inspirational and practical Zero Waste Movement in the 1990s. Citizens at the local level have run for office and won, organizing coalitions that city and county councils could not ignore without a threat to their next election….”

… “An EPR system would shut this engine of recycling off completely. Access to decision makers at the local level would be eliminated as cities would have abdicated their decision making power of waste and recycling to corporate nonprofit boards that will replace all decision making, collection, processing, and marketing. Public recycling jobs would be terminated and workers rehired by these Brand Name corporations with little union and employment protections, and lower pay and benefits. Mary Lou Van Deventer, environmental writer, recycling pioneer, and principal of Urban Ore, the iconic materials reuse and processing enterprise, refers to EPR for traditional materials as a “hostile takeover” threatening 50 years of recycling activism.

“PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Nestlé introduced EPR for traditional recycling materials in 2013. The goal, as interpreted by the vast majority of grass roots activists, is to stop any new bottle bills from being enacted and to roll back the existing 10 state bottle bills. Frequently heard comments among pro EPR…advocates add insult to injury: Cities do not know how to recycle and they are broke so they can’t do anything, corporations have the money and know how to recycle better. The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) praised the legislation’s EPR component, “EPR is the only transformational solution to the current crisis.”

“These comments are counter-intuitive given the history of U.S. recycling wherein cities have learned from the early successes of grassroots recycling and adopted them for municipal roll out. Grassroots pressure at the local level continues to lead the country toward new rules for waste and recycling management.

“Efforts to impose EPR controlled by Big Soda in R.I., Conn., Minn., and Calif. failed in the last few years despite a stealth strategy, including hiring of former state legislatures to lobby their former colleagues, state environmental organization staff, and grassroots environmental organizations.” []

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Account of The Third Annual North Bay Zero Waste Symposium

By Arthur R. Boone, Center for Recycling Research (CRR)
The July NCRA News told of the Zero Waste Symposium in Rohnert Park in late July and, after noting the 27 different speakers being scheduled, I resolved to attend. About 90 people were present with a generous dollop of old NCRAites; seen were Ruth Abbe, Will Bakx, myself, Jordan Figueredo, Gary Liss, “Green Mary” Munat, Judith Silver and Todd Sutton. I heard five highlights in the program:

1.     Mimi Enright of the Sonoma County Community Food Systems program, talked about how the county stayed on top of a rapidly shifting environment (100,000 meals needed the day after Camp Fire in 2017) at the same time respecting the integrity of many volunteer and non-profit efforts.
2.     Kourtnii Brown of Oakland’s Common Compost thinks that smaller organics diversion programs may bear more fruit than the 100+ big facilities expected under SB 1383 to make industrial scale compost at higher costs, less social gain, and an unclear contribution to social equity. She noted there is “the trend to make policies that favor only big solutions.“ very wise to my mind.
3.     Marv Zauderer started and runs the ExtraFood program in Marin County. Relying heavily on individual initiative and simplicity of organization, Extra Food tries to connect persons with food and people in need; not a lot of details but three million pounds moved in five years is 800 pounds per day of groceries; 2/3rds of his volunteers are seniors.
4.     Eric Jackson as leader of the Trashion Fashion Show of the Sonoma Community Center recounted its 9 year history with lots of kooky side bars: in addition to youth campy clothes, there are clothes for found Barbie dolls, costumes for pets with found stuff, etc. A real kick; the artiest of the day.

5. Green Mary (a/k/a Mary Munat) now has 45 employees and works a lot of big events in SF. Trying to talk the SF Marathon leaders into patches for each new year rather than yet another T-shirt. SF’s rule is that any event that requires a police permit also must have a recycling plan and program. Volunteers at many event disposal points may be the best pub ed available to not-at-home youngsters.

A nice program; well-paced. Good food and drink. A lot more individual initiative stories than we tend to hear at RU where it’s more about official and routinized efforts. Refreshing.

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World Food Day Webinar on SB 1383 and Edible Food Measurement

In Honor of World Food Day
NCRA’s Zero Food Waste Committee and Zero Waste USA present
a SB 1383 Webinar on

EDIBLE FOOD MEASUREMENT

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2019, 12 – 1:30PM PST, FREE, REGISTER

Webinar Handouts:
CalRecycle’s SB 1383 & Edible Food Measurement NCRA Webinar (pdf) and
NCRA’s Commercial Food Waste Reduction in Alameda County Report – 2017

Curious about SB1383’s edible food requirements?
NCRA and Zero Waste USA are offering a free webinar with Martine Boswell of CalRecycle who gave this talk at CRRA this summer.

In addition, there will be a short presentation on the NCRA Commercial Food Waste Reduction in Alameda County project, a great model that can be easily replicated in other California communities.

Curious about California’s SB1383’s edible food requirements? California’s short-lived climate pollutant law – SB 1383, requires that 20% of currently disposed edible food be recovered for human consumption by 2025. But how do we know how much edible food is in the waste stream? In this presentation, Martine Boswell of CalRecycle will discuss CalRecycle’s efforts to measure the amount of edible food in California’s disposed waste stream as well as provide an overview of the draft SB 1383 edible food recovery regulations. She will describe what CalRecycle has done to measure disposed food waste and how you can use that information to help your program comply with this new law. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Presenter: Martine Boswell is an Environmental Scientist in CalRecycle’s Statewide Technical and Analytical Resources Branch. She serves as CalRecycle’s technical advisor on food waste, and provides scientific analyses on California’s food system and climate change. Martine is also highly engaged in statewide efforts to mamage safe surplus food donation in California, and is a member of the CalRecycle team tasked with developing the edible food recovery regulations. She received her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of California Santa Cruz and her master’s in environmental studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

For more information contact news@ncrarecycles.org.

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Fostering Sustainable And Healthy Behavior Workshops

San Francisco, November 12-13 and 14-15, Register, NCRA Discount Code: 889db508

Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr will be delivering introductory and advanced community-based social marketing training in San Francisco in November. These workshops will be of particular interest to agencies working to promote waste reduction, energy and water efficiency, conservation, sustainable food consumption, the control of invasive species, modal transportation changes and other sustainable actions.

Presenter: For over three decades Dr. McKenzie-Mohr has been working to incorporate scientific knowledge on behavior change into the design and delivery of community programs. He is the founder of community-based social marketing and the author of three books on the topic. One of these books has been recommended by Time Magazine and become requisite reading for those who deliver programs to protect the environment, promote public health and prevent injuries. His work has been featured in the New York Times and he is the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s inaugural award for innovation in environmental psychology and the World Social Marketing conference’s inaugural award for contributions to the field of social marketing. He has delivered workshops internationally for over 75,000 program managers

Introductory Workshop (November 12-13): The two-day introductory workshop provides a comprehensive introduction to community-based social marketing and how it is being applied throughout the world to foster behavior change. Those who attend the workshop will learn the five steps of community-based social marketing (selecting behaviors, identifying barriers, developing strategies, conducting pilots, and broad scale implementation) and be exposed to numerous case studies illustrating its use. Participants will receive a copy of the third edition of “An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing.” The introductory workshop is a mandatory prerequisite for the advanced workshop.

Advanced Workshop (Nov. 14 – 15): The two-day advanced workshop provides an in-depth exploration of how community-based social marketing can be used to foster behavioral changes and provides attendees the opportunity to apply this approach to their own programs. Building on the introductory workshop, participants will be exposed to advanced topics regarding fostering behavioral changes, with a particular focus on the formation of habits that protect the environment or foster public health and safety; accurately determining the barriers to a behavioral change; and program evaluation and determining return on investment. The workshop also addresses the effective use of social media, apps and websites. Participants will also be coached in making community-based social marketing presentations to their agency or community and will receive PowerPoint and Keynote presentations for this purpose. This workshop is restricted to individuals who have previously attended Dr. McKenzie-Mohr’s introductory workshop. If you have not yet attended an introductory workshop, reduced rates are available for attending both sessions.

Group Bookings
For groups of five or more the reduction is $75 per person. These reduced rates are in addition to our early bird rates and the 10% reduction if someone registers for both the introductory and advanced workshop.