United States
Environmental Protection
Pollution Prevention Office
Washington, DC 20460
November/December 1989
Forum on Solid
Waste Recycling
EPA and
National Re~
cycling Congress
Forum (cont'd.)
Upcoming Events
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Pollution Prevention News
401 M Street SW (PM-219)
Washington, DC 20460
Editorial Staff:
Priscilla Flattery, Editor
Gilah Langner
Editor's Corner
This month we bring you a forum of ideas
and views on the subject of municipal solid
waste (MSW) recycling. Despite the numerous
issues still open for discussion on recycling, we
are heartened by the enormous progress made
in a very short time and the widespread interest
in solid waste recycling around the country.
Congratulations are in order to the many people
across the private and public sectors who are
making this happen.
With all this activity, however, it also is
important to keep recycling in perspective and
to remember that waste prevention must remain
a priority. The Congressional OfficeofTechnol-
ogy Assessment (OTA) makes this point very
clearly in its recent report, Facing America's T rash:
What Next for Municipal Solid Waste. The report
outlines a national MSW policy based on "the
dual strategies of waste prevention and better
materials management," with waste prevention
defined as "activities by manufacturers and con-
sumers that reduce the toxicity or quantity of
products before they are purchased."
We promised last issue to report on EPA's
own recycling efforts, and so we talked to Gail
Wray, EPA's in-house Recycling Coordinator
since May 1989. Her aim is to build a model in-
house EPA recycling program at headquarters,
regions, and laboratories. In fiscal year 1989,
EPA Headquarters diverted 402 tons of high-
grade paper from the waste stream, up 150%
from 1988 collections of 253 tons. According to
Wray, EPA's recycling goal is "100% divergence
and 100% compliance." Wra/s efforts are sup-
ported by a dynamic 30-person Recycling Work-
ing Group at EPA who have volunteered their
time to get the program underway.
Starting in December, EPA headquarters
buildings will shift to a 2-paper sort of high-
grade paper (mostly white paper and enve-
lopes) and low-grade paper (mostly colored
paper, file folders, brown envelopes, and old
Codes of Federal Regulations!). Sorting will be
done at each employee's desk, with additional
large color-coded bins placed at another 300
locations. Glass and aluminum recycling is
available to employees nearby, and will be col-
EPA Administrator William Reilly addresses the EPA
Recycling Kick-Off in August 1989.
lected inside EPA buildings by October 1990
under the District of Columbia's new recycling
EPA also will be placing an increasingly heavy
emphasis on the demand side to change federal
procurement practices in order to support the
development of markets in recycled products.
As Wray points out: "We had collection in the
1970s, but recycling failed then because there
was little procurement and volatile markets.
This time procurement and markets need to get
as much attention as collection."
In the Pollution Prevention Office, we also
will be working hard to promote EPA's in-house
model program and to extend it beyond recy-
cling, so that it includes a strong emphasis on
prevention — ultimately moving towards the
use of alternative fuels in EPA's vehicles, reduc-
ing the use of chemicals on EPA lawns, achiev-
ing greater fuel efficiency in office lighting, us-
ing less toxic materials in EPA laboratories, and
expanding employee training programs.
In short, we will be working towards a com-
prehensive program that can serve as a model
for other federal agencies and a variety of of-
fices, businesses, and organizations. In this,
recycling clearly has an important role to play.
But prevention still comes first.
Printed on Recycled Paper

Pollution Prevention News - 2
Nov/Dec 1989
Forum on Solid Waste Recycling
Will Recycling Succeed?
by William L. Kovacs
Maybe! Hopefully! But it is not certain.
Recycling will only succeed when Ameri-
can society and its laws reward conservation
and the efficient use of materials, and im-
pose upon those who waste the real cost of
the waste. Such a formula sounds simple,
perhaps even logical, but it is a formula that
is totally at odds with mainstream American
thinking. Obstacles to recycling exist
throughout our laws and social habits.
What practical measures can be taken to
encourage American industry to use recy-
clable materials as their raw material supply
and to encourage consumers to purchase
products made from recyclable materials?
Following are some key steps:
1. Congress should refrain from passing
any new recycling laws until it implements
the laws already on the books. Many of the
programs proposed in pending legislation
have already been enacted. Such laws need
to be funded and implemented, not re-writ-
2.	Government must permit disposal costs
to rise to their true level, which includes the
economic value of decreasing disposal ca-
pacity, environmental remediation and the
inability to site new capacity.
3.	The federal government must lead the
way by giving preference in procurement to
items made from recycled materials and
should require all other government con-
tractors (consultants as well as vendors) to
procure items made from recycled materials
as a part of obtaining a government contract.
4.	States and localities must act together
as regions in order to create larger and more
uniform markets for products made from re-
cycled materials and to amass greater eco-
nomic clout in order to attract recycling in-
dustries into the region and to develop
markets for these products.
5.	A catalyst, like the Clean Japan Center,
must be created in order to bring govern-
ment, industry, and the community together
in the development of recycling activities
and markets for recycled products.
6.	Where practical, governments should
mandate minimum recycled content require-
ments for products. For example, all news-
print should contain at least 40% recycled
fiber. California now requires that at least
25% of all newsprint used in the state contain
recycled fiber. This percentage rises over
time to 50%. Six other states are considering
similar proposals and Connecticut has en-
acted similar requirements.
7.	Finally, to persuade industry to use re-
cycled and recyclable materials, consumers
must demand (a) that products be made
from recycled materials; (b) that manufac-
turers disclose the recycled content and re-
cyclability of their products; and (c) that
manufacturers disclose the cost of the pack-
age in relation to the cost of the product.
William L. Kovacs is a partner with the law firm
ofEckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot in Washing-
ton, D.C.
Keys to Successful Curbside
by Jeremy K. O'Brien, P.E.
Interest in curbside recycling is spread-
ing like wildfire across the United States.
Many managers, however, are surprised at
the costs of curbside recycling programs.
Net costs following the sale of the recyclables
can run up to $50 per ton or more. Major
costs elements are collection (75%) and pro-
cessing (25%). Revenues from the sale of re-
covered materials typically cover about half
the program costs.
The reason that curbside program costs
are high is that an additional collection serv-
ice is being provided to residents. To reduce
costs and improve the effectiveness of
curbside recycling programs, managers
1. Consider combined collections. Col-
lection costs can be reduced in three ways:
• Combined collection. Mixed recyclables
and yard waste can be put into clear
plastic bags by the resident and col-
lected along with the mixed waste. The
bags can then be sorted from the mixed
waste at a transfer station or materials
recovery facility. This approach, while
relatively untried, offers the potential
for eliminating the expense (and air pol-
lution) associated with providingan ad-
ditional collection service.
•	Modification of regular collection service to
allow for the collection of recyclables.
For example, a municipality can go from
a twice/week refuse collection service
to a once/week refuse collection and
once/week recyclables collection serv-
ice. The City of Phoenix is experiment-
ing with this approach.
•	Use of automated and semi-automated sys-
tems, rather than manual collection of
2.	Target large volume materials such as
yard waste. In Seattle, San Jose, and Los
Angeles, yard waste recycling is expected to
play as significant a role in waste diversion
as all other curbside materials combined.
3.	Target other waste streams. For ex-
ample, many program managers are finding
that thecommercial wastestream offers more
potential than the residential waste stream
for recycling.
By implementing new collection ap-
proaches, targeting large volume materials,
and including the commercial and other
waste streams, municipal managers can re-
duce the costs and increase the effectiveness
of curbside recycling programs.
Jeremy K. O'Brien, P.E., is a Project Manager/
Project Engineer with HDR Engineering, Inc.
San Jose, CA curbside collection

Nov/Dec 1989
3 - Pollution Prevention News
EPA and Recycling
by Sylvia Lowrance
EPA's national solid waste strategy, The
Solid Waste Dilemma: An Agenda for Action,
was developed by the Office of Solid Waste
and published in February of this year. The
strategy sets a national goal of 25% source re-
duction and recycling of solid waste by 1992,
recommends the adoption of an integrated
approach to solid waste management, and
lays out EPA's objectives for finding solu-
tions to the solid waste problems facing our
states, counties, cities, and towns.
In order to meet the objective of increas-
ing recycling, EPA is working to understand
and develop markets; to promote separation
and collection of materials; to promote recy-
cling yard wastes, tires, batteries, and used
oil; and to create the National Recycling In-
stitute to foster the growth of recycling.
Marketing is perhaps the most critical
and difficult step in the recycling loop; mate-
rials can be collected, but if they are not sold
and reused, then recycling is not occurring.
In order to gain greater understanding of the
market issues, EPA is conducting market
analysis studies on a wide variety of materi-
als. EPA also is examining policies that
could provide incentives for development of
recycling markets or remove existing disin-
One action that EPA is taking that should
have long-term impact upon recycling mar-
kets is a recently issued set of procurement
guidelines that require the federal govern-
ment, and stateand local governments using
federally appropriated funds, to procure
paper products, building materials, used oil,
and retread tires with recycled content. Since
the government consumes large quantities
of these products, the guidelines have a tre-
mendous potential to create demand for
goods with recycled content.
More information about EPA's procure-
ment guidelines is available from the EPA
Procurement Guidelines Hotline, (703) 941-
The market for old newspapers is of par-
ticular concern to EPA because of the large
impact newspaper recycling has upon re-
ducing waste volume and the current low
prices for used newsprint. In some areas of
the country the avoided costs of disposal are
high enough that brokers arc being paid to
remove the newspapers. EPA is working
with newspaper mills, publishers and other
users of recycled paper, and government
recycling programs to develop additional
markets for old newsprint.
Separation and Collection
Separation and collection of recyclables
are the other half of the recycling loop. Here
EPA has a key education and promotion
role. In addition to recent publications (see
box), EPA is preparing a Decision Makers
Guide to Solid Waste Management which de-
scribes the policy options available to local
solid waste management officials in the
context of integrated solid waste manage-
EPA also is providing a leadership role
and an example for office paper recycling
through its own waste paper recycling pro-
gram, and by developing a guidance docu-
ment entitled Office Paper Recovery: An Im-
plementation Manual, as well as a training
program for federal recycling coordinators.
Other Recyclables
Yard waste composting is a key element
in our efforts to effectively recycle large
amounts of our nation's waste, because yard
waste on average accounts for nearly one-
fifth of municipal solid waste. Efforts to
remove this waste, compost it, and reuse it
could have a tremendous effect upon ex-
tending landfill capacity, as well as provi-
ding a source of mulch and fill for communi-
ties. EPA is developing guides to compost
operation and markets.
Certain typesof waste—such as used oil,
tires,and lead-acid batteries—arcidentified
as special recyclables because of the diffi-
culty of disposal, or the threat they pose to
the environment if they are improperly dis-
posed . EPA is using education and outreach
materials, how-to manuals, and studies to
make decision-makers and the public more
awareofthedangers of improper disposal of
these special wastes and to promote alterna-
tive methods of disposal.
National Recycling Institute
In order to foster a better understanding
of recycling, EPA has created a National Re-
cycling Institute through a grant to the Na-
tional Recycling Coalition. This Institute
will provide national perspectives on recy-
cling policies, staying abreast of technical,
regulatory, and legislative issues and initia-
tives that can enhance or hamper recycling
efforts. We also expect the Institute to moni-
tor national progress towards recycling goals,
explore national and international markets
for secondary materials and study world
trends. The Institute will be comprised of
representatives from the secondary materi-
als and waste management industries, pub-
lic interest groups, states, localities, and
Sylvia Lowrance is the Director of EPA's Office
of Solid Waste.
Recent EPA Publications
Yard Waste Composting: A Study of Eight
Programs. Discusses com posting tech-
nologies, and collection and market-
ing approaches in Davis, CA; East
Ta was, MI; Montgomery County, MD;
Omaha, NE; Seattle, WA; Wellesley,
MA; Westfield, NJ; and Woodbury,
MN. April 1989.
Recycling Works! State and Local Solu-
tions to Solid Waste Management Prob-
lems. A description of programs in 14
communities, obstacles overcome,
unique solutions, and helpful tips.
January 1989.
How to Set Up a Local Program to Recycle
Used Oil. Steps for designing and im-
plementing a community used oil pro-
gram. May 1989.
Bibliography of Municipal Solid Waste
Management Alternatives. Abstracts
and ordering information for over 200
publications. August 1989.
Promoting Source Reduction and Recycla-
bility in the Marketplace. A study of
consumer and industry response to
promotion of source reduced, recycled,
and recyclable products and packag-
ing. September 1989.
To order any of these documents, or
for further information on EPA's pro-
gram, call the RCRA/Superfund Hot-
line, 1-800-424-9346. (In Washington,
D.C., call 382-3000.)

Pollution Prevention News - 4
Nov/Dec 1989
Recycling Conference
The 8th National Recycling Congress was held in Charlotte,
North Carolina on Oct. 31-Nov. 3. Over 1,500 people gathered to
discuss opportunities and prospects in recycling trends and tech-
nologies. The congress was sponsored by the National Recycling
Coalition, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Pollution Preven-
tion Program, and the N.C. Recycling Association.
Charlotte recently confronted an unexpected recycling oppor-
tunity of its own: widespread damage from Hurricane Hugo
created over two million cubic yards of tree and yard debris in the
city and surrounding area. The county has set up a program to
recycle the debris into wood chips and mulch. Below is a sampling
from the more than 100 presentations offered at the congress.
Impact of Federal
Procurement Guidelines
Between June 1988 and February 1989,
EPA issued four guidelines for purchas-
ing products containing recovered
materials: paper and paper products,
lubricating, oil, retread tires, and build-
ing insulation. Each guideline triggers a
statutory requirement that procuring
agencies (federal agencies or those us-
ing appropriated federal funds)develop
affirmative procurement programs for
purchasing these items containing re-
covered materials. Are the guidelines
having an impact? The short answer is
yes, although the impact is mixed.
Paper: The federal government is pur-
chasing various grades of paper and
paper products containing recovered
materials and many state and local
governments are using the EPA recom-
mended minimum content standards.
Problems with availability, price, resis-
tance to use, and definitionsofmillbroke
and waste paper remain, however.
Oil: Implementation of this guideline
has been slow or non-existent because
the cost of testing oil against the military
specifications remains a barrier, and
some vehicle manufacturers are refus-
ing to honor engine warranties if rere-
fined oil is used.
Tires: Specifications for new tires have
been revised to include retreads; testing
was scheduled to occur in September.
Insulation: The Departments of Energy
and Health and Human Services are de-
veloping guidance for their regional
offices and grantees about compliance
with the guideline.
Dana F. Arnold
E.H. Pechan & Associates, Inc.
Aluminum UBC Recycling
In 1988, the aluminum can industry
spent over $15 million on promoting the
recycling of aluminum used beverage
cans (UBCs). The market for aluminum
UBCs is tied closely to other related
industries. Each of the industries in the
supply chain is also a consumer — the
sheet producers rely on a steady supply
of UBC, the can manufacturers rely on
the sheet producers, and so on.
Contamination — by moisture, heavy
metals, and non-UBC metallics, com-
bustibles, and dirt — is the greatest
quality concern UBC consumers face
today. Since contamination is more ef-
ficiently eliminated at the grass roots
level, collectors need to know how to
spot and eliminate contaminated UBC
before it reaches the UBC consumer.
In getting to today7s 55% aluminum can
recycling rate, UBC consumers have
relied largely on that segment of the
public that needs the cash to live on or
supplement their income. But these
recyclers are "tapped out." The chal-
lenge is to change the behavior of those
Americans who are not currently recy-
cling. Two strategies seem to be work-
ing. The first involves convincing con-
sumers who won't recycle for them-
selves, to save their cans for charities.
The second approach involves getting
consumers to recycle for the organiza-
tional equivalent of the cash hungry
recycler — community groups like the
Boy Scouts, marching bands and school
athletic teams.
David R. Smith,
General Manager,
Continental Resource Recovery
(Affiliate of Continental
Can Company)
After the Barge:
25%, 50%, or 85%
How much of the waste stream is it rea-
sonable to recycle? Three distinct views
have emerged on Long Island, in the af-
termath of the garbage barge fiasco, and
under pressure of a law requiring
landfills to close by December 1990.
The "25% solution" — recycle 25% — is
supported by many local governments
and by the incinerator industry. This
level is seen as prudent in view of the
newspaper glut and as a way to increase
the overall economic and physical per-
formance of waste-to-energy systems.
Recycling at the 25% level would repre-
sent a significant increase for most of
Long Island.
The "50% solution" (with 10% coming
from source reduction) is the statewide
1997 goal set by the New York State De-
partment of Environmental Conserva-
tion. Incineration is an essential compo-
nent in this plan, but only after source
reduction and recycling options have
been exhausted.
The "85% solution" is urged by environ-
mentalists who cite the intensive trash
separation project headed by Barry
Commoner in East Hampton, Long Is-
land. The 85% solution precludes virtu-
ally all incineration. Each position uses
a different method to calculate the per-
centage reduction and relies on a parti-
cular set of assumptions and theories con-
cerning engineering, environmental im-
pacts, economics, and social values.
Sheldon J. Reaven, Professor,
Waste Management Institute
State University of New York
at Stony Brook

Nov/Dec 1989
5 - Pollution Prevention News
The Scrap Recyclers' View
by Herschel Cutler
From the scrap recycler's perspective, the
current American recycling picture is dotted
with irony. In the midst of a positive orienta-
tion to increase our national recycling ef-
forts, we are encountering increasingly diffi-
cult regulatory hurdles.
The presence of trace amounts of hazard-
ous materials in consumer products des-
tined for recycling often precludes recycling
efforts because of scrap processors' realistic
fears of potential liability, perhaps many
years hence, for once having handled a
commodity containing hazardous compo-
nents. Household appliances, or "white
goods," as they are known to scrap proces-
sors, come readily to mind.
Trace amounts of PCBs are present in
certain electrical components, called capaci-
tors, in some old (pre-1979) appliances. Ca-
pacitors can be extremely difficult to identify
and locate. Many scrap processors are find-
ing that the search for and removal of the
capacitor is so time-consuming that it no
longer makes economic sense for them to
recycle this particular commodity. If they
stop handling white goods, those items, so
readily recyclable except for the capacitors,
are likely to end up in landfills when they
could be returned to the marketplace in the
form of a new product.
Society, and its government, should at-
tempt to view recycling through the eyes of
a businessman who happens to recycle scrap
materials for a living. The recycler, despite
serious efforts to learn the composition of
the many products he handles, can never be
fully aware of all of their components due to
the complexity of manufacturing processes
and the heterogeneity of the inbound scrap
To make recycling more attractive and
widespread, a hierarchy must be established
for the limited disposal space. The recycler,
who is returning materials to the market-
place for reuse rather than merely disposing
of them in their entirety, should receive a
high priority in this hierarchy.
Photo Credit: Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.
What we need is increased interdepend-
ence, more mutual understanding of one
another's difficulties, and a greater willing-
ness to help one another reach desirable
recycling goals in reasonable ways.
Dr. Herschel Cutler is Executive Director of the
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.
Recycling is Here to Stay
by Jerry Powell
Recycling is no longer just the faddish
activity of thebrie-and-Chablis set. Wehave
proven that Americans want to recycle, that
Americans will recycle, that we can collect
massive new volumes of secondary materi-
The rush to recycle has been frenetic.
Whileonly a million Americanshad curbside
recycling service a decade ago, 20 million
residents now have household recycling
collection service. What was once a subur-
ban activity is an urban service. Seattle,
Portland, San Jose, Minneapolis, St. Paul,
and Ci ncinnati have city wide collection serv-
ice. New York, Philadelphia, and other big
cities aren't far behind.
With all this activity, exciting develop-
ments have occurred. The trash hauling
industry has become the trash-and-re-
cyclables hauling industry. Truck manufac-
turers are rushing to introduce new recy-
cling vehicles. Many city, county, and state
governments are also active. Ten states have
adopted comprehensive statewide recycling
systems. In Oregon, for instance, over three-
quarters of the state's residents receive recy-
cling collection service. By the end of 1990,
more than 800 communities in New Jersey
and Pennsylvania will offer recycling op-
tions to householders.
And governments have been more will-
ing to experiment, to try different ideas.
California has stuck its neck out with a one-
of-a-kind beverage container redemption
system. Florida, Minnesota, and Washing-
ton recently adopted major new waste man-
agement and recycling laws. Special wastes
— such as old appliances, scrap tires, and
lead-acid batteries — are being recycled
under statewide programs. At least a dozen
states offer recycling grants to local govern-
Recycling's recent growth is encourag-
ing. Butmanyproblemsareathand. Though
we've seen that Americans will take part in
recycling, we haven't yet shown that Ameri-
can industry wants to buy all this extra sec-
ondary material. Certainly some industries,
particularly aluminum and glass container
producers, have demonstrated an historic
interest in getting back scrap material for
recycling. Other industries — such as plas-
tics and steel can producers—have launched
aggressive recycling efforts in recent years.
And the paper industry is assessing all its
options in terms of expanded recycling of
paper fibers.
Nonetheless, a public-private partnership
is needed if we are to find a home for all these
recyclables. Government needs to work with
ind ustry to increase the demand for recycled
products. And it is incumbent on industry to
maintain a recycling infrastructure for its
products. It is no longer sufficient to say that
"the public demands we make this item"
when industry introduces products such as
disposable cameras, disposable watches, or
disposable razors. Many Americans want to
break out of the purchase-consume-dispose
mentality. There is a "green consumer"
movement in the U.S. and businesses will
benefit by serving these consumers.
From crises come solutions. Recycling's
progress in the 1980s can only increase in the
1990s. In the end, we will see a nationwide
waste management system that focuses first
— not last — on waste reduction and recy-
Jerry Powell lives in Portland, Oregon and edits
three recycling periodicals: Resource Recycling,
Plastics Recycling Update and Bottle/Can Recy-
cling Update.

Pollution Prevention News - 6		Nov/Dec 1989
Upcoming Events

Pollution Prevention for
the 1990's: A Chemical
Engineering Challenge
American Institute of
Chemical Engineers

Dec. 4-5,1989
Washington, D.C.
Dr. Martin Siegel
(202) 223-0650
Waste Equipment &
Recycling Expo '89
Tower Conference
Management, Inc.

Dec. 5-7,1989
Long Beach, CA
Bill Harrington
(708) 469-3373
5th Intl. Conference on
Solid Waste Management
& Secondary Materials
Journal of Resource Mngmnt.
& Technology, EPA Regions
2 & 3, others
Dec. 5-8,1989
Philadelphia, PA
Ron Mersky
(215) 499-4042
Keep America Beautiful
36th Annual Meeting
Keep America Beautiful, Inc.
Dec. 6-9,1989
Washington, D.C.
Lis Biles
(203) 323-8987
Biocycle Southeast Conference
'89: Successful Recycling for
Solid Waste and Sludge
BioCycle Journal of
Waste Recycling

Dec. 4-5,1989
Clearwater/Tampa, FL
Celeste Madtes
(215) 967-4135
Coping with Solid Waste
in the 1990s
Govt. Finance Officers Assn.,
Amer. Public Works Assn., etc.
Jan. 10-11,1990
New Orleans, LA
Cheryl Retta
(202) 429-2750
Resource Recovery '90
Government Refuse Collection
and Disposal Assn.
Jan. 15-18,1990
West Palm Beach, FL
Steve Hirshfeld
(202) 585-2898
The Pollution Prevention Office is pleased to announce
an International Conference on Pollution Prevention: Clean
Technologies and Clean Products, to take place June 10-13,
1990 in Washington, D.C., jointly sponsored by EPA and the
International Association for Clean Technology. The focus
of the conference will be on innovative technologies and
socioeconomic issues relating to pollution prevention.
Sensitive to the waste generated by any conference, this one
will be "clean conscious." Efforts are being made to reduce
or prevent the generation of waste at every conceivable
opportunity during the course of the conference. These
efforts extend to reusable cups, saucers, and plates at coffee-
breaks, recyclable paper materials for announcements and
registration kits, eliminating "speaker and host" ribbons,
minimizing the use of letterhead stationery, and providing
recycle bins around the conference site. The conference
hopes to demonstrate that clean practices are "do-able" and
that it is not burdensome to incorporate them in the office
and at home. For further information, contact Deborah Hanlon
in the Pollution Prevention Office at (202) 245-4164.

United States Environmental
Protection Agency
Washington, DC 20460

Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300