Archive for recycling

WASTE NOT! EXPO (in Frederick, Saturday, March 28, 2009)

Posted in Environment_local_regional, News_local_regional with tags , , , on March 23, 2009 by Kai Hagen

I’m very pleased to share information about an excellent (and important) event scheduled for THIS SATURDAY, in Frederick.

Please consider attending the WASTE NOT! EXPO on Saturday, March 28th. at 9:30 am.

I won’t include a lot of information here, but will encourage you to click here:

http://wastenotfrederick.org/

…and visit the attractive website set up to offer all the information you’d need or want to know about the Expo, including the schedule, speakers, vendors, sponsors, directions, contact information and other bits (the Mission Statement, press release, etc.)

This is a well planned event, with a variety of activities and information, and an outstanding slate of speakers, all packed into just a few hours on an early spring day.

Even though it is on the website, I can’t help but share here how pleased I am that the organizers of this event were able to get Eric Lombardi to attend as the Keynote Speaker. You can read a few details about Eric on the Waste Not! Expo website, but I wanted to make sure you knew that he is scheduled for 10:00 am. So…don’t come late! And, if you can’t stay for the entire event, consider coming for a while, catching a couple of great speakers and visiting some of the tables.

Also, too HOT OFF THE PRESS to be included on the invitation below: ArrowBio© has agreed to co-sponsor the Expo, and will have a display and information about its integrated solid waste technology. ArrowBio© has been in the news recently as a possible alternative to the proposed Waste-to-Energy incinerator. For more information about the process used by ArrowBio©: http://www.arrowbio.com/

Oh…also worth mentioning…

Childcare (with fun activities) will be provided (in the high school cafeteria) for children at least two years old.

I wouldn’t miss it, and I hope to see you there!

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Zero Waste and Green Jobs Challenge from the Sierra Club

Posted in Environment_national_global, Incinerator (WTE), World Changing with tags , , on February 2, 2009 by Kai Hagen
Below is a January 20, 2009 News Release from the Zero Waste Committee of the Sierra Club. And below the news release is the related resolution adopted by Sierra Club Zero Waste Committee, entitled “Green Jobs Waste Surcharge: an economic Stimulus for Zero Waste

The release is about two weeks old now, and I haven’t yet heard anything to suggest that the “Green Jobs Waste Surcharge” is currently being considered for inclusion in the Federal Economic Stimulus Package. But, whether it is or not, in this form or another, at this time or later, I think it offers a good illustration (one of many out there for those who are looking) of the sorts of changes on the horizon.

The proposal is intended to stimulate the economy and benefit the environment by enacting a surcharge for all waste disposed of in landfills or incinerators.  The funds collected could then be applied to support reuse, recycling and composting.

It goes without saying that anything remotely along these lines would dramatically affect the long term cost of a 1,500 tons per day mass burn incinerator, such as the one currently being considered for Frederick County – making a bad investment that much worse.

 

 

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News Release                                          

Sierra Club Zero Waste Committee
For Immediate Release                                                 
January 20, 2009                                       

Ann Schneider
650-697-6249
Ann.Schneider@sierraclub.org
www.sierraclub.org/committees/zerowaste/

 

Sierra Club Zero Waste Committee Recommends
Zero Waste and Green Jobs Challenge

As a Recommendation for Federal Economic Stimulus 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (January 16, 2009) – The Sierra Club national Zero Waste Committee today released an innovative recommendation for the Federal Economic Stimulus Package.  The Committee urges the Federal government to issue a Zero Waste Challenge for communities and businesses to adopt a Zero Waste plan, and undertake specific projects to reach waste reduction goals.  The proposal includes a “Green Jobs Surcharge on Waste Disposal” as a funding mechanism and economic stimulus for Zero Waste. 

 “This Sierra Club Zero Waste and Green Jobs Proposal recognizes Zero Waste as one of the fastest and most cost effective ways that local governments can contribute to reducing climate change,” said Ann Schneider, a leader of the Club’s Zero Waste Committee. “A shift from traditional waste practices to Zero Waste can also be a significant economic stimulus to recharge the American economy.  Recycling materials can create ten times the number of jobs as land filling those materials.” 

Zero Waste focuses on reducing waste and reusing products, then recycling and composting the rest.  A key component of Zero Waste is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

“Many European nations have adopted significant fees on landfills of $20-40/ton to fund recycling programs and reduce greenhouse gases”, said Schneider. “This proposal recommends that the Federal government adopt a national $20-40/ton Green Jobs Waste Surcharge on landfills and incinerators to help fund Zero Waste programs and contribute a new revenue source that would actually help meet the nation’s Climate Change goals at the same time.  This is often referred to as a “sin” tax, much like taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, where the government taxes “bads” to discourage their use at the same time as generating needed revenues.”

“The Green Jobs Surcharge will facilitate the shift to producer responsibility-led, cradle to cradle recycling,” said Bill Sheehan, Vice-Chair of the Zero Waste Committee.  “That will create a lot more jobs in reuse, refurbishment, recycling and composting than in sending those same materials to landfills and incinerators.”

“A surcharge of this amount could generate up to $6.5 billion per year,” said Gary Liss, a member of the Club’s Zero Waste Committee.  “The Sierra Club Zero Waste Committee proposes half of the revenue from the Zero Waste Fee would cover one-time costs of the US Treasury or as the local or state government match for federal economic stimulus projects. The other half of the revenues would be used to support communities and businesses in developing comprehensive Zero Waste programs.”

For more information visit www.sierraclub.org/committees/zerowaste/.  Contact Ann Schneider at 650-697-6249, Ann.Schneider@sierraclub.org; or Gary Liss at 916-652-7850,gary.liss@sierraclub.org.

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Resolution Adopted by Sierra Club Zero Waste Committee:

Green Jobs Waste Surcharge:
an economic Stimulus for Zero Waste

Many local governments and businesses around the world are recognizing Zero Waste as one of the fastest and most cost effective ways that they can contribute to reducing climate change. The shift from traditional waste practices to Zero Waste can also be part of a broader package of economic stimulus mechanisms to recharge the American economy.

The USEPA acknowledges the link between municipal waste practices and climate change[i] and communities that have adopted a Zero Waste challenge[ii] are leaders in reducing their contribution to climate change. Similarly, businesses that have adopted a Zero Waste challenge[iii] and divert more than 90% of their waste from landfills and incineration have not only achieved environmental benefits but also saved money, reduced their liabilities, and increased their efficiency.[iv]

Sierra Club members can help more communities and businesses throughout the United States realize similar benefits and help restore the American economy by asking the USEPA to expand its Resource Conservation Challenge[v] to include a Zero Waste Challenge.  The new Challenge, issued to both communities and businesses, could be funded with a Green Jobs Waste Surcharge that would act as part of the new administration’s economic stimulus package to build a sustainable economy.

What would the USEPA Zero Waste Challenge do?

For communities, the national Zero Waste Challenge would set a higher bar for waste reduction. The support of the USEPA and the many publications and practical tools on its website would provide a national clearing house to help communities that are ready to aim beyond their current state recycling goals and just need some encouragement to move in that direction.

For businesses, the USEPA can include information about Zero Waste Businesses[vi] as part of its Waste Wise program.[vii] Waste Wise Partners can be encouraged to report waste diversion rates from landfills and incinerators and highlight how they are meeting the goals through Zero Waste Business Principles.[viii]

USEPA and the new Administration could launch this new Zero Waste Challenge by encouraging communities and businesses to take the Challenge by Earth Day 2009.

Funding the Zero Waste Challenge

To link the USEPA Zero Waste Challenge to other important Federal climate change and economic initiatives, the Administration could recommend a national Green Jobs Waste Surcharge as part of its economic stimulus package to build a Green Jobs economy.

In effect, the Green Jobs Surcharge would tax “bads” rather than goods. By raising the cost of wasting, the surcharge would not only create a new pool of funds that could be directed to worthwhile economic activity, but also provide a direct economic incentive to prevent waste.

Many European nations have adopted significant fees on landfills of $20-40/ton to fund recycling programs and reduce greenhouse gases.  Closer to home, in San Jose, California, the combined fees and taxes on landfilling are over $19/ton and that city has one of the highest waste diversion rates in the country.

USEPA could adopt a national $20-40/ton Green Jobs Waste Fee on landfills and incinerators that would be structured as follows:

1.                  The Fee would be levied on all municipal solid wastes and construction and demolition debris disposed of in landfills and incinerators. For the 169 million tons landfilled or incinerated in 2007[ix], this would generate $3.4 to $6.5 billion per year initially.

2.                  The Fee would credit all local fees charged already.  This would level the playing field, and not encourage wastes to be transferred from one state to another. For example, in San Jose if the federal government enacted a $30/ton fee, San Jose landfills would be levied at $30/ton (ZW Fee) – $19/ton (local fees) = $11/ton paid to the federal government. 

3.         Half of the revenue from the Zero Waste Fee would cover one-time costs of the US Treasury or as the local or state government match for federal economic stimulus projects, structured as follows:

a.         The amount of funds allocated could be proportional to the percentage of materials used in construction projects under the economic stimulus package made of reused, recycled or composted materials.

b.         Because these funds will decrease over time as the amount of wastes decreases to landfills, they should be used only for these one-time expenses.

4.         The other half of the revenues from the Fee would support communities and businesses in developing comprehensive Zero Waste programs, including:

a.         Policy: support for the development of Zero Waste resolutions, policies, incentives, plans and ordinances that facilitate the shift from landfills and incinerators at public expense to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and local Green Jobs;

b.         Technical assistance, education and training: certification and training programs, peer matching and consulting assistance, community based social marketing, and engagement of colleges and universities to develop curricula and classes, compile and analyze data and train students to enter the Zero Waste field.

c.         Start up costs: planning, engineering, permitting, siting, land acquisition, equipment and construction for the capitalization of local Zero Waste businesses that create local jobs while reducing climate change, including:

i.          Reuse and repair facilities
ii.         Recycling facilities
iii.        Composting facilities
iv.        Resource Recovery Parks
v.          Anaerobic digestion
vi.         Market development activities for reuse, recycling and composting such as support for planning for and implementation of recycled content legislation for discarded products.

——————

 

[i] http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/waste/calculators/Warm_home.html
[ii] Including: Los Angeles; Seattle; San Francisco; San Jose; Austin, TX; Telluride, CO; Logan County OH and Central Vermont Waste Management District
[iii] Including: Toyota; Hewlett Packard; Pillsbury; Xerox; Ricoh Electronics; Fetzer Vineyard; Mad River Brewing Company; Scoma’s Restaurant (San Francisco) and 2800 businesses in Japan.
[iv] As documented at http://www.grrn.org/zerowaste/business/profiles.php andhttp://www.earthresource.org/zerowaste.html

EPA’s “Office of Solid Waste” becomes the “Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery”

Posted in News, World Changing with tags , , on January 31, 2009 by Kai Hagen

logo_epasealA rose is a rose by any other name. And changing the name of something can simply mean the name has changed, and little or nothing else, especially where politics may be involved.

But when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announces it is changing the name of the “Office of Solid Waste” (OSW) to the “Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery” (ORCR), as part of a larger reorganization,  and the change coincides with a transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration, there are good reasons to think the change may be substantive and meaningful.

Here is the text of the fact sheet released about this change:

——————–

Fact Sheet 
EPA530-F-09-003 

EPA Announces Reorganization and Name Change for the Office of Solid Waste (OSW);  OSW Becomes the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery and Streamlines Its Operations 

Action 

Effective January 18, 2009, the Office of Solid Waste (OSW) is reorganized and has changed its name to the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR).  The name change reflects the breadth of the responsibilities/authorities that Congress provided to EPA under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the primary authorizing statute.  The ORCR has three divisions, which consolidate the operations of the six divisions under the old OSW structure. 

This reorganization will create a more efficient structure, consistent with current program priorities and resource levels, which will enable EPA to better serve the needs of the public and its key stakeholders over the next 5-10 years.  EPA has increased focus on resource conservation and materials management; the emphasis on this important aspect of the RCRA program is expected to continue while maintaining a strong waste management regulatory and  implementation program. 

This reorganization also:  

• consolidates the four major areas of the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) under one division;   

• combines data collection and data analysis activities thus streamlining operations to better coordinate EPA’s efforts to analyze and present the benefits of its program; and 

• consolidates waste-to-energy activities in one division and branch. 

The three divisions in the new organization are:  Materials Recovery and Waste Management Division; Resource Conservation and Sustainability Division; and, Program Implementation and Information Division. 

For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/basicinfo.htm 

——————–

Even in these first few days since the inauguration of President Obama, it’s clear that the agency (and its website) is going through significant changes. We’ve only seen the smallest tip of the iceberg, and it will be interesting to watch.

While I’m in the neighborhood, so to speak, here is the initial statement by Lisa Jackson, who was sworn in as EPA Administrator on January 26, 2009:

lisaonbrown“I am honored by the confidence and faith President Obama and the Senate have reposed in me to lead the EPA in confronting the environmental challenges currently before us. As Administrator, I will ensure EPA’s efforts to address the environmental crises of today are rooted in three fundamental values: science-based policies and programs, adherence to the rule of law, and overwhelming transparency. By keeping faith with these values and unleashing innovative, forward-thinking approaches – we can further protect neighborhoods and communities throughout the country. “ 

— Administrator Lisa Jackson, January 23, 2009

As of today: Single Stream recycling is here!

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Frederick County BOCC, News_local_regional with tags , , , on January 26, 2009 by Kai Hagen

Well…single stream recycling has arrived for most single family households in Frederick County. If you’ve received one of the new 65 gallon, wheeled, blue totes, you now know single stream collection has arrived for you!

There are still a lot of folks – including my family – that are not included, yet. But if you live in a single family home, and don’t have a tote, please know that this new program will include you before long (some time in the next few months, sooner or later depending on where you live). Multi-family buildings are also in the plan, but that will also be a gradual process.

Three of the most significant aspects of our new single stream recycling program are:

1) Convenience:  Single stream recycling makes recycling an item as easy as throwing it away. Everything that can be recycled here can be placed in one large container, which can be easily wheeled to the curb, where it will be collected. It’s as easy as knowing whether to drop an item into one container or the other.

2) More convenience: Many households in the county have not had curbside collection of recyclable items/materials. For us, recycling has meant separating and storing items, and periodically loading up the car and hauling it to one of twelve satellite drop-off centers in the county (for me, that has meant a twelve mile round trip). Without question, wheeling a large tote to the curb is much easier than making those trips.

3) More items and materials will now be accepted: A significant list of items and materials that have not been accepted for recycling previously, at the curb or at the drop-off centers, can now be included. Click here to download a pdf file that lists what can be recycled now (and what can not be).

In many different and substantial ways, recycling is good for the environment. And, without question, it is good for the county’s bottom line. Every ton diverted into this stream will reduce the cost of dealing with our “waste.” Click here to read “Top 10 Reasons to Recycle.” 

I’m going to end my comments here, and encourage you to read the two press releases below. If you want or need more information, there are various links, email addresses and phone numbers below.

 

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DEPARTMENT OF SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT
Office of Recycling
9031 Reich’s Ford Road
Frederick, Maryland 21704
http://www.co.frederick.md.us/recycling

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2009 

SINGLE STREAM COLLECTION OFFICIALLY BEGINS
Curbside Recycling Service Now Improved

FREDERICK, MD—The Frederick Board of County Commissioners and the Department Solid Waste Management announce that single stream curbside collection of recyclable materials begins today for residents in existing service areas. To prepare for the new program, the county has been distributing wheeled recycling carts since November. These carts can now be set out for curbside collection. 

The single stream program also brings other improvements and changes to residential curbside recycling service. The county’s goal is to make recycling an easier, more efficient process in order to increase recycling rates. More materials will now be accepted and less pre-processing of recyclables is required. Residents will no longer have to sort items, effectively making recycling as easy as throwing something away— but with the benefit conserving resources and our environment.

One of the most noticeable changes affects the recycling collection schedule, which is shifting from weekly to biweekly service. For many residents the day of the week for curbside collection is also changing. The county has been divided into ten new regions, five of which be serviced each week by the county’s contact hauler, Allied Waste services. To provide further information on these changes, a flyer has been mailed to every household with curbside service.

Residents with questions about recycling containers, collection schedules and other issues relevant to their curbside service should contact Allied Waste directly by calling 301-694-6498 or by sending an email to frederickrecycles@republicservices.com.

For further information on recycling programs and waste reduction in Frederick County, residents are encouraged to visit www.co.frederick.md.us/recycle.
 

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INFORMATION UPDATE 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

January 26, 2009 

INFORMATION ON THE NEW SINGLE STREAM 
RESIDENTIAL RECYCLING PROGRAM IN FREDERICK COUNTY 

FREDERICK, MD Since November 2008 more than 50,000 County residents have received a new wheeled, lidded container for the collection of recyclable materials. The new carts have generated much interest, a little debate and a great deal of anticipation for when they could actually be set out curbside and used. The Department of Solid Waste Management is pleased to announce that the new single stream curbside collection program officially begins Monday, January 26, 2009. This start date takes effect county-wide, for all single-family homes that have existing recycling service provided by the County. 

The single stream program introduces changes and improvements from the previous curbside recycling service. In an effort to communicate these points and address frequently asked questions as well as to provide notice of upcoming developments for the County’s recycling programs, the Office of Recycling has put together this Information Update. In addition to the points discussed here new information is being placed on the Office of Recycling’s website, http://www.co.frederick.md.us/recycling, with more updates to be posted online in the coming weeks. 

Who Can Recycle 

 At this time the improved recycling program is being implemented only in areas of the County that have existing curbside service. However, the Board of County Commissioners have voted to expand curbside recycling service to all single family homes in Frederick County, approximately 17,000 additional residences. The expansion of curbside recycling service to new households will begin in early spring 2009. As these homes are delivered recycling collection containers and program information they will be able to begin participating immediately. 

Currently only single family homes are provided with curbside recycling collection. Later in 2009 the Department of Solid Waste Management will be conducting a pilot program to test opportunities for multi-family dwellings such as apartments and condominiums to be provided with recycling collection service. 

Single Stream Curbside Service 

Single stream recycling means that no sorting of materials is required. Paper, plastics, glass and metal recyclables can all be placed in one container, no matter whether an 18-gallon bin or a larger wheeled cart is used. A complete list of recyclable—and non-recyclable—items is posted on the Office of Recycling’s website, http://www.co.frederick.md.us/recycling

Excess materials that cannot fit inside the container can be paced next to it in a cardboard box, paper bag or smaller, open-top container. If it can fit inside a collection container, cardboard does not need to be broken down and paper does not have to be bundled and tied. 

Carts should be set out curbside no later than 6 am on the day of collection. Carts should be placed with the wheels towards the curb, lid opening towards the street and at least four feet away from possible obstructions such as cars, trees and mailboxes. 

Allied Waste Services has been contracted by Frederick County to both perform single stream curbside collection of residential recycling and also to provide customer service for the new program. Questions about collection schedules, recycling containers, service issues and other relevant concerns should be addressed directly to Allied Waste by calling 301-694-6498 or sending email to: frederickrecycles@republicservices.com 

Curbside collection has switched from a weekly to an every-other-week schedule. All residents in areas with curbside service have been mailed a new collection schedule, program information and reminder stickers to help ease the transition to the new program. 

In the near future residents will be able to go online to the County Office of Recycling’s website to find their recycling collection dates. An interactive feature being created with cooperation from the County GIS and Information Technology Departments will allow residents to enter their street address and be provided with the collection schedule specific to their street. This feature is expected to be online in the next two weeks. 

Recycling Containers 

No matter what size or type of container is used, all recycling is now single stream, requiring no more sorting. 

Many residents in areas with existing service have ordered a wheeled cart—as a size-exchange, a townhome order, or to make up for an error in the original delivery of carts. These carts are being delivered as inventory and staff schedules allow. Residents on the wait-list are asked to please continue using an 18-gallon bin or other container until their new cart arrives in the next two to six weeks. 

Residents who are using a wheeled recycling cart are asked to return the previously-used 18 gallon bins that are the property of Frederick County. During the month of February these bins can be set out curbside—EMPTY—on the scheduled recycling pick-up day and they will be collected for use in other recycling programs. 

Residents who have purchased their own 18-gallon bins and/or lids may keep these as they are not County property. 

Residents who will use an 18-gallon bin as their ONLY recycling container may continue to place these out at the curb with materials inside and these will not be taken for reuse. 

Each of the new wheeled recycling carts has a bar code linking it to a specific street address. If you move to another location in Frederick County, your cart will stay behind at the residence it is linked to and you will use the container bar-coded to correspond to your new address. 

The cart’s bar code will be scanned each time your recyclables are collected. This creates a record of when collection has occurred, to assist in the event of service problems. The code is used only to record when any particular cart has participated in curbside collection, but does not record what or how much was in the cart. This process also allows data about regional participation rates for the recycling program to be gathered. 

Other Recycling Options 

For residents in households or areas where curbside service is not yet provided, the County operates twelve satellite drop-off centers for recyclable materials. These service centers will allow the commingling of all materials except cardboard, which will still need to be separated and flattened. Further information and maps for each drop-off center are found by visiting: http://www.co.frederick.md.us/recycling

Appearance on WFMD about the new single stream recycling program

Posted in Environment_local_regional, Frederick County BOCC, Incinerator (WTE) with tags , , , on January 16, 2009 by Kai Hagen

I was invited to speak with Bob Miller today, during his regular morning radio program on WFMD, the “Morning News Express.”

The primary subject of the conversation was Frederick County’s new single stream recycling program (along with a few general recycling matters, and a brief exchange about the proposed “Waste-to-Energy” incinerator).

If you’d like to listen, go to http://www.wfmd.com/cc-common/podcast.html and scroll to “County Commissioner Kai Hagen talked with Bob about the counties single stream recycling program.”

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