United States
Environmental Protection
Office of Pollution Prevention
Washington, DC 20460
April 1990
&EPA Pollution
In the News;
Global ReLeaf
Focus on:
Interview with
Barry Commoner
EPA Earth Day
1990 Tree	g
Registry Form
To be added to our mailing
list, please write:
Pollution Prevention News
401 M Street SW (PM-219)
Washington, DC 20460
Editorial Staff:
Priscilla Flattery, Editor
Herman Phillips
Gilah Langner
Editor's Corner
by William K. Reilly
The 20th anniversary of Earth Day, this April
22, like the first Earth Day in 1970, marks a
turning point—a time when we must find a new
approach to meeting our needs. We must find
ways to continue economic growth without
depicting the natural capital of the planet.
I am encouraged today that our institutions
and our people seem ready to embrace a new
ethic, a new sense of stewardship on behalf of
the environment. At the heart of this is a new
approach to waste: reducing and preventing it.
Pollution prevention must become the watch-
word for all our activities. EPA has set a goal of
recycling or reducing 25% of the nation's mu-
nicipal waste by 1992. This is a realistic national
goal if everyone contributes — government,
business, and especially consumers. Increas-
ingly, businesses are recognizing that pollution
prevention can often save them money. As the
magazine The Economist recently suggested, more
and more, good growth will be "green" growth.
New products need to be designed with less use
of toxic material, and more attention to their
recyclability and ultimate disposal. Manufac-
turers and distributors need to eliminate unnec-
essary packaging. And we all need to rethink
the wisdom of disposable products, however
convenient they may seem at first glance.
Recycling is another important step in assur-
ing that the nation's basic stock of ecological
capital remains intact for future generations.
This need not come at the expense of economic
progress. Not surprisingly, countries that have
already made considerable progress in recy-
cling aluminum, steel, paper, and glass areat the
top of the list of international economic per-
At EPA, we're doing our part to encourage
markets for recycled and recyclable materials.
We are taking action to reduce or eliminate
pollutants at the source, such as our bans on
EPA's Administrator William K. Reilly
CFCs, asbestos, and lead in gasoline and drink-
ing water. We're also changing enforcement
policies to favor implementation of fundamen-
tal alterations in products and processes, in
addition'to meeting end-of-pipe pollution stan-
Some of the most intractable pollution prob-
lems confronting us are from decentralized
sources and thus will require the help of many
people throughout our society if the problems
are to be addressed. We are dramatically in-
creasing our support for education. I recently
created an Agency-wide Environmental Educa-
tion Task Force to work with the states to de-
velop an environmental education program.
EPA is also sponsoring the first National Mi-
nority Environmental Career Conference in
April, in Washington, DC, in order to attract
more of our brightest students to environmental
My hope for Earth Day 1990 is that this cele-
bration can help bring about a national commit-
ment to pollution prevention — through the ac-
tions of millions of individuals finding ways to
prevent, recycle, and reduce waste. Let us work
together to preserve our environmental legacy
and create a growing, sustainable, environmen-
tally sound economy for generations to come.
Printed on Recycled Paper

Pollution Prevention News - 2
April 1990
In the News
Int'l Conference on
Pollution Prevention
The International Conference on Pollution
Prevention to be held June 10-13 in Washing-
ton, D.C. will feature Henry Habicht, Dep-
uty Administrator of EPA as the keynote
speaker, with a program of 52 sessions fo-
cusing on innovative technologies and so-
cio-economic issues in pollution prevention.
Countries to be highlighted in the interna-
tional sessions include Germany, the Neth-
erlands, Scandinavia, Canada, and Yugosla-
via; additional time will be reserved for dis-
cussions on US-USSR issues with members
of the US-USSR Joint Committee on Coop-
eration in the Field of Environmental Protec-
Sponsored by EPA and the International
Association for Clean Technology, the con-
ference will also present William H. Parker
III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
(Environment), Dr. Horst Wiesebach, Dep-
uty Director of the U.N. Industrial Develop-
ment Organization, Barry Commoner, Di-
rector of the Center for the Biology of Natu-
ral Systems, and Kathryn S. Fuller, President
of the World Wildlife Fund and the Conser-
vation Foundation.
The conference will be conducted in ac-
cordance with "clean principles," meaning
non-disposable or reusable conference ma-
terials and recycle bins for trash. To register,
call Mary Bourassa at SAIC, (703) 734-3198.
Workshop for Dye
A workshop was held on March 5 and 6 at
EPA Headquarters to explore opportunities
for pollution prevention in dye manufactur-
ing. Co-sponsored by EPA's Office of Solid
Waste (OSW) and Pollution Prevention
Division, and drawing 25 industry partici-
pants, the workshop reviewed the resources
needed and available to embark on preven-
Calendar of Events
State Congress on Pollution Prevention
Assn. of State and Interstate Water
Pollution Control Administrators
May 2-4
New Orleans, LA
Robbie Savage
Hazardous Materials Spills Conference
National Response Team member
agencies, AICHE, CMA
May 13-17
Houston, TX
20th Annual BioCycle Conference:
Composting and Recycling
BioCycle Journal of Waste Recycling
May 14-16
Minneapolis, MN
Celeste Madtes
Enviro Expo
Anchor Resources, Inc.
May 15-16
Baton Rouge, LA
Andy Johnson
Environmental Management Institute
(10 courses)
Tufts University, Center for
Environmental Management
June 4-28
Medford, MA
Rita Moreno
Int'l Conference on Pollution Prevention:
Clean Technologies & Clean Products
EPA, International Association for
Clean Technology
June 10-13
Washington, DC
Mary Bourassa
1st U.S. Conference on Municipal Solid
Waste Management
June 13-16
Washington, DC
9th Annual New England Resource
Recovery Conf/Expo
New Hampshire Resource Recovery
Assn., Assn. of Vermont Recyclers
June 13-15
Burlington, VT
Hazwaste '90 Expo
National Association of Hazardous
Waste Generators
June 18-21
San Diego, CA
Ken Sellinger
83rd Annual Air and Waste Management
Association Meeting and Exhibition
June 24-29
Pittsburgh, PA
Sharon Andrea
World Recycling Conference and Expo
Recycling Today Magazine
June 27-29
Baltimore, MD
Hazardous and Solid Waste Minimization
Government Institutes, Inc.
June 28-29
Hilton Head, SC
Terri Summers

April 1990
3 - Pollution Prevention News
In the News (cont'd)
tion activities, the elements of a successful
program, the evaluation of economic bene-
fits, and prevention in the dye manufactur-
ing and other industries. The program fo-
cused on azo dyes, a particular type of dye
used in textiles, because OSW has been con-
sidering listing wastes from azo dye manu-
facture as hazardous. However, implemen-
tation of the project will include other dyes
as well.
EPA staff also met with the azo dye manu-
facturers' waste minimization task force and
the director of the industry's association to
discuss implementation of prevention ac-
tivities. The group developed a statement of
goals and a timetable for implementation;
next steps include developing a pollution
prevention guidance manual for the dye
industry and conducting a baseline survey
of industryprevention practices. EPAhopes
this cooperative effort can be a model for
similar efforts with other industry groups.
Landmark TSCA Consent
Order Includes Prevention
On January 30, 1990, EPA's Chief Judicial
Officer signed a Toxic Substances Control
Act (TSCA) consent order which includes,
for the first time ever, a designated pollution
prevention project. Sherex Polymers, Inc., of
Dublin, Ohio, agreed to pay a civil penalty of
$252,000 and to institute a pollution preven-
tion project worth at least $525,000 for failure
to submit a premanufacture notice to EPA at
least 90 days prior to manufacturing a new
chemical substance, as required by TSCA.
The pollution prevention project involves
replacing theexisting filter system on a dimer
fatty acid production unit at the company's
Lakeland, Florida facility. The project should
result in waste reduction of at least 500,000
pounds of filter cake annually, which would
have been land filled, and increase the recov-
ery of reusable fatty acid material by over
250,000 pounds annually, which will be re-
American Forestry Assn.
Seeks Global ReLeaf for
Overheated Planet
The American Forestry Association is urging public officials and
citizens to take action against global warming by populating the earth
with millions of healthy new trees.
The program, called Global ReLeaf, is based on elementary scien-
tific principles. Trees are the natural predators of carbon dioxide, the
gas that acts as the "glass in the greenhouse" and that contributes to
global warming. Through photosynthesis, trees can absorb 26 pounds
of carbon dioxide a year (about five tons per acre of trees), thereby
helping to cleanse the atmosphere of excess carbon dioxide.
The program's organizers hope that Global ReLeaf will reverse the
current worldwide depletion of forest areas. Of particular concern are
tropical forests, where an area the size of Tennessee (approximately 27
million acres) is destroyed or damaged each year. The program also
focuses on urban and rural reforestation. According to the American
Forestry Association, an average city in the U.S. currently loses four
trees to death or removal for every new tree planted. Rural forests
often fall prey to pollution and inadequate management.
Global ReLeaf hopes to see 100 million new trees planted on private
lands in American cities and towns before the end of 1992. In addition
to offsetting millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions, Global
ReLeaf estimates that the shade from the new trees could save Ameri-
can consumers $4 billion each year in energy costs.
A network of state and local citizens groups is carrying out the
Global ReLeaf program. Coordination is provided by the American
Forestry Association, the nation's oldest citizen conservation organi-
zation. Further detailed information can be obtained from AFA, P.O.
Box 2000, Washington, D.C. 20013, (202) 667-3300.
To register your tree-planting with EPA's Earth Day 1990
Tree Registiy, fill out and mail the form on page 8.
How to Plant Your Tree
Rexible Stake
Attached To Tree
Rubber Tubing
Or Hose
Prepared Soil Area
Mulch Layer
Root Ball, 18 Inches Wide Burlap
Existing Soil
1.	Locate a site with generous rooting area and adequate space for the tree at
2.	Prepare a planting area five times the area of the rootball using a rototiller or
3.	In the center of the planting area, dig a hole for the tree roots at least as wide
but only as deep as the rootball.
4.	Remove the tree from burlap or container, place on solidly packed soil so that
the root collar is slightly above the surrounding grade. Gently separate
tangled roots; cut encircling roots.
5.	Backfill the hole and water to settle the soil into place.
6.	Spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch, but not within 6-8 inches of the tree trunk.
7.	Stake the tree so that it can flex with the wind.

Pollution Prevention News - 4
April 1990
Focus On: Household Hazardous Waste
Recent Trends in Household
Hazardous Waste Management
by Dana Duxbury
Dana Duxbury & Associates
The decade of the 1980s saw a significant
increase in awareness of household hazard-
ous waste management (HH WM) issues and
HHWM activities. This growth occurred
across the country, with the greatest activity
on both coasts and in the upper mid-west.
Involvement in HHWM now extends to
government at all levels, industry, the me-
dia, citizens, and environmental groups.
Close to 2000 HH W collection programs were
held in the 1980s, with almost a third of them
(628) happening in 1989 alone. These pro-
grams were mainly one day events, but more
and more we are seeing that communities
are institutionalizing their programs and
often holding more than one per year. The
scope of the programs vary — they include
drop-off sites where all categories of HHW
are accepted, curbside used oil collections,
paint only, dry cell battery only, farm pesti-
cides only, and HHW with conditionally
exempt generator waste.
There is also an upsurge of interest in per-
manent programs and a corresponding in-
crease in their numbers. We define a perma-
nent program as one which is open at least
once a month at a fixed or mobile facility. A
total of 36 such programs were in operation
in 1989 in the following states: Alaska, Cali-
fornia, Colorado, Idaho, Rorida, Massachu-
setts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vir-
ginia, and Washington.
Varioustrendshavebeen emerging. They
•	Broadened scope of concern—sponsors
are not just concerned about the dangers of
putting HHW in landfills. There is a concern
about the production and use of hazardous
household products, HHW storage in homes,
and the need to protect air and water quality
by minimizing HHW in incinerators and
wastewater, as well as in landfills.
•	Wider range of products — program
sponsors are increasingly concerned with a
wider range of HHW categories, including
such things as televisions and other high
tech equipment, white goods such as refrig-
erators and washing machines, and lead and
cadmium found in plastics and pigments.
•	Expanded group of generators — HHW
programs are increasingly perceived as a
potential means of capturing waste from
conditionally exempt generators (0-100 kilo-
grams per month), such as schools, farms,
and some small businesses.
•	New types of programs — specialty pro-
grams are being established, such as used
oil-only or paint-only. Permanent facilities
(including the first mobile permanent facil-
ity) and point-of-purchase collection in re-
tail stores are also becoming more common.
•	Program integration — HHW programs
are being integrated with solid waste man-
agement programs, especially recycling
programs, and also with sewage treatment
facility programs. Regulations are starting
to appear — New York and Massachusetts
already regulate permanent HHW facilities;
California's regulations are in the offing.
•	Increasing sophistication — program
sponsors have continued to refine requests
for proposals and contracts with hazardous
waste contractors; HHWM experts have been
put on the staff of many contractors; toll-free
numbers for HHW information have been
provided in many communities; and spe-
cialty equipment has been developed to
improve and speed collection programs.
•	Incorporating the hierarchy — there is a
greater appreciation for following the waste
management hierarchy (source reduction,
recycling, treatment, and finally landfill
disposal). In Florida's first Amnesty Days
program, 75% of the HHW collected went to
a hazardous waste landfill. In Amnesty Days
II, only 5% of the waste is being landfilled.
An analysis of permanent programs has
documented that from 5 to 30% of the HHW
collected goes to a hazardous waste landfill.
Program sponsors have been finding ways
to reuse or recycle frequently collected items,
such as paint.
• Heightened participation — participa-
tion rates are starting to increase, from an av-
erage of l%ofan area's households, to 5% for
some first-time programs in Connecticut and
even a reported 10% in a San Bernardino
County, CA program.
•	Broadened educational efforts — pro-
gram sponsors are realizing that they must
have a viable educational program in addi-
tion to their collection program. These edu-
cation programs aim to ensure that consum-
ers learn how to red uce their consumption of
products with hazardous constituents and
how to manage properly those wastes al-
ready stored in homes and those they cannot
avoid generating, such as motor oil from
•	Broadened awareness of the need for
stable funding—the search for stable fund-
ing mechanisms includes tipping fees, util-
ity bill surcharges, and internalizing pro-
gram costs in the costs of products.
A whole new set of terms has entered our
vocabulary in recent years — pollution pre-
vention, environmentally friendly products,
product stewardship, integrated and com-
prehensive programs, internalization, hier-
archy, toxic use reduction. The progress
made in the last 10 years is an exciting indi-
cation of what lies ahead.
"Amnesty Day" HHW Collection in Orlando, FL. Photo by Michael Frishman.

April 1990
Household Hazardous Waste
5 - Pollution Prevention News
Numerous household products are hazardous — they
contain Ingredients that are flammable, corrosive, toxic, or
radioactive. When discarded, these products create haz-
ardous waste.
¦J As a first step In preventing pollution, whenever pos-
X • sible, avoid using hazardous products. Look for and
use non-toxic alternatives instead.
C\ When purchasing hazardous products, buy only as
• much as you need; do not buy bulk quantities. Store
hazardous products and materials carefully. Follow
label instructions.
O Find someone who can use up unwanted hazardous
*3 • products, like paint; recycle the recyclables (like
used motor oil). All household products containing
hazardous constituents should be disposed of care-
fully. Find out your local community's policy on
disposing of hazardous waste. If an HHW collection
program Is not in place, encourage your community
to start one.
Here is a partial list of household products, some of the
hazardous constituents they may contain, and alternatives
available to purchasing these products.
•	Drain opener (potassium Plunger or plumber's
or sodium hydroxide snake; vinegar & baking
(lye), hydrochloric acid) soda followed by boiling
•	Toilet bowl cleaner Use toilet brush and
(sodium bisulfate, oxalic baking soda.
acid, paradichloroben-
zene, hydrochloric acid)
•	Disinfectant (pine oil, 1/2 cup borax dissolved in
phenols, chlorine, cati- 1 gallon hot water; deter-
onic surfactants) gent cleaners. (Must use
bleach for disinfectant
•	Hair color (cadmium Plant-derived rinses,
chloride, cobalt chloride,
lead acetate, etc.)
•	Nail polish (toluene, None,
•	Nail polish remover None.
(acetone, ethyl acetate)
•	Scouring powder (chlo- Use brands without
rine) chlorine; baking soda.
•	Oven cleaner (sodium or Sprinkle salt & baking
potassium hydroxide, soda on spill while warm;
ammonia) scour with steel wool and
baking soda. (Do not put
baking soda on heating
•	Floor cleaner (pine oil. Soap and wet mop; or mop
petroleum distillates, with 1 c. white vinegar
naphthas) mixed with 2 gallons
water; polish with club
•	Metal polish (naphthas, Polish brass with Worces-
oxalic acid) tershire sauce; copper:
vinegar and salt; soak
silver in 1 quart warm wa-
ter containing 1 tsp. bak-
ing soda, 1 tsp. salt, and a
piece of aluminum foil.
•	Roach killer (organo- Caulk cracks using white
phosphates, carbamates) glue; use roach traps;
sprinkle cracks and dark
places with boric acid
(powder) if no children or
pets In the vicinity.
•	Spot remover (perchlo- Club soda; lemon juice
roethylene) and hot water; borax and
cold water; use bleach-
type remover instead of
•	Starch (formaldehyde, 1 tbsp. cornstarch in 1 pt.
phenols, pentachlorophe- cold water.
•	Bleach (chlorine, sodium Calgon, borax, non-
tripolyphosphate or chlorine bleach, lemon
sodium hypochlorite. Juice, sunlight. (NEVER
hydrogen peroxide) mix with ammonia or
strong acids.) (Must use
bleach for disinfecting.)
•	Furniture polish (petro- 1 part lemon Juice to 2
leum distillates, oil of parts olive or vegetable oil.
•	Carpet & upholstery Sprinkle dry cornstarch on
shampoo (perchloroeth- rug, then vacuum. Or
ylene, naphthalene, chlo- shampoo with 6 tbsp. soap
rinated solvents) flakes, 2 tbsp. borax, 1 pt.
boiling water.

Pollution Prevention News - 6
April 1990
Household Hazardous Waste
Automotive Supplies
•	Motor oil (lead, hydro-
•	Antifreeze (ethylene
•	Car battery (sulfuric
acid, lead)
•	Brake & transmission
fluid (glycols)
•	Engine degreaser (chlo-
rinated solvents, cresol,
stoddard solvents)
•	Gasoline (gasoline, tetra-
ethyl lead)
• Weed killer (various
toxic herbicides)
• Insecticides (organo-
phosphates, carbamates)
• No-pest strip (dichlorvos)
•	Insect repellant (butopy-
ronoxyl, dimethyl phtha-
late, etc.)
•	Oil-based paint (organic
solvents, pigments)
•	Paint thinner (toluene,
turpentine, ethyl or butyl
acetate, mineral spirits)
• Lacquer (methanol,
ethanol, mineral spirits,
benzene, turpentine)
Selecting seed mix with
low weed-seed content;
hand pick weeds.
Select pest-resistant
plants; plant garlic cloves
at 1 foot intervals in
vegetable and flower
gardens; use traps or a
soap spray.
Burn citronella candles;
eliminate mosquito
breeding habitat.
Citronella oil.
Water-based paints.
Use water-based paints so
that thinner is not needed;
use baby oil, butter or mar-
garine to clean hands of
•	Paint stripper (benzene,
methylene chloride,
toluene, phenols, cresols)
•	Wood preservative (pen-
tachlorophenol, creosote,
copper naphthenate)
•	Adhesive (naphthalene,
phenol, ethanol, vinyl
chloride, formaldehyde,
•	Mothballs (paradichlo-
•	Air freshener (formalde-
hyde, petroleum distil-
lates, p-dichlorobenzene,
aerosol propellants)
•	Glass cleaner (ammonia,
•	Used batteries (nickel,
cadmium, mercury)
•	Photographic chemicals
(hydroquinone, phe-
nidone, acetic acid, hypo-
or sodium thiosulfate)
Sandpaper, scraper, heat
gun, water-based strip-
Water-based preservatives;
rot-resistant wood.
White or yellow wood
Cedar chips.
Leave open box of baking
soda or bowl of vinegar
out; pour baking soda
down garbage disposal.
Spray on vinegar, wipe dry
with newsprint.
Rechargeables, electric
For Further Information:
~	Dana Duxbury, Dana Duxbury & Assoriatos
16 Haverhill Street, Andover, MA 01810 ( 508) 470-3044.
Quarterly Newsletter - Household Hazardous Waste
Management Nexvs
•	Susan Mooney, U.S. EPA, Office of Solid Waste,
401 M Street SW (0S-3O1), Washington, DC 20460,
(202) 382-5649
The Non-Toxic Home: Protecting Yourself and Your Family
from Everyday Toxics and Health Hazards by Debra Lynn
Dadd. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. 1986. The Healthy Home by
Linda Mason Hunter. Rodale Press, 1989.
EHMI Hazardous Waste Wheel. Environmental Hazards Man-
agement Institute. P.O. Box 932, Dept. CM, Durham, NH
03824. (800) 446-5256.
Garden Supplies/Pesticides

April 1990
7 - Pollution Prevention News
Interview with Barry Commoner
Barry Com moncr is one of the country's lead-
ing environmental scientists. He directs the
Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at
Queens College of the City University of
New York. His new book, Making Peace with
the Planet (Pantheon Books, SI9.95), will be
published this month. Through his writings
and lectures, Dr. Commoner has drawn na-
tionwide attention to the need for environ-
mental action. Time featured him in a cover
article in 1970, calling him the "Paul Revere
of ecology...endowed with a rare combina-
tion of political savvy, scientific soundness
and theability to excite people with his ideas."
Dr. Commoner shared his views on pollution
prevention and other subjects in a telephone
PPN: What does Earth Day mean to you?
BC: It means bringing NEPA [the National
Environmental Policy Act] back to life. Earth
Day set out to achieve what is in NEPA's
statement of purpose: "to eliminate and pre-
vent pollution." We must recognize — and
this needs to be said on Earth Day — that wc
have failed. Our major accomplishment over
the past 20 years is that the social i nten tio n to
eliminate pollution has been very firmly es-
tablished. We also know a lot more about the
environment than we did, and EPA deserves
much of the credit. But as a society, we have
failed to recognize the root cause of pollu-
tion. For that reason, wc have set up regula-
tory programs that are basically Band-Aids.
Wo haven't developed the right approach to
cleaning up the environment.
PPN: What is the right approach?
BC: First, I regard it as an established fact
that prevention — the few instances of pre-
vention —have been the only steps that have
rolled back pollution levels. Prevention
means to eliminate the production of pollut-
ants from the agricultural, power, or indus-
trial system that generates them. Therefore,
to have a workable environmental program,
there has to be social determination of the
technologies used in our production systems.
Wc need to revise the basic technologies in
agriculture, transportation, power produc-
tion, and certainly chemicals over the next 20
years. This is a very tall order, but it is the
only thing that can be done.
PPN: How would you revise those technologies?
BC: As far as I'm concerned, it ought to be a
national policy to switch from chemical to
organic agriculture. It ought to be a national
policy to switch from fossil fuels to solar
sources...a national policy that no automo-
bile engine should emit nitrogen oxide, which
is what triggers the smog reaction ... a na-
tional policy that any toxic synthetic chemi-
cal that is not necessary ought to be elimi-
nated. For example, synthetics ought to be
eliminated where natural materials arc avail-
PPN: How would you achieve such changes?
BC: In the old-fashioned way, through poli-
tics. People need to recognize that we have
the democratic right to tell corporations how
to run their business insofar as the businesses
have an impact on the environment — and
they do, in many areas of production. This
means we must overcome the taboo about
challenging the right to do what you want
with your own capital. It would be a chal-
lenge to what passes for our economic ideol-
ogy, but in my view, environmental goals
take priority. What we need can be called
environmental democracy. As I say in my
new book, we should be encouraged by how
thcinhercnt impulse towards democracy has
changed the face of Europe. It would be
unbecoming to us in the U.S. to say that we
cannot express the same democratic impulse
in terms of production decisions.
PPN: Do you think there have been any success
stories in pollution prevention?
BC: One was the recent alar case, in which
mothers said, we don't want this stuff in
apples, and manufacturers got the message.
Earlier, there was the removal of DDT, largely
because of public agitation based on Rachel
Carson's work, as well as the banning of
PCBs in TSCA [Toxic Substances Control
Act] — but these were exceptions. Where
there has been an opportunity to adopt the
prevention approach, EPA and the White
House have gone theother way. For instance,
Mr. Bush's Clean Air Bill, which has corpora-
tions trading the right to pollute, is the very
oppositeofprevention. The bill assumes that
corporations will all have something to trad e.
What's needed is to influence manufacturers
before pollution is created.
PPN: Your work has addressed the needs of Third
World countries, where economic development so
often seems to come into conflict with solving
global environmental problems. Is conflict inevi-
BC: The reason for the apparent conflict is
the assumption that Third World develop-
ment has to depend on the same pollution-
generating technologies that have caused
trouble in developed countries, chemical ag-
riculture in particular. If we say this is the
only way, indeed, the environment will suf-
fer. Yet the economic productivity of chemi-
cals has been declining steadily since they
were brought into use. Since the 1950s, it has
dropped 60 percent — you have to use more
and more to get less and less result. In the
long run, the environmentally sound tech-
nologies of organic farming are economically
productive. Developed countries can help
the Third World by making such technolo-
gicsavailableand by eliminatingThird World
PPN: Let's tarn to recycling. You recently worked
with the Town of East Hampton, NY, on a project
to recycle nearly 85 percent of the town's residen-
tial trash into marketable products. Is this a
realistic goal for other communities?
BC: Ninety percent of trash can be recycled
using existing procedures, and of that, 97
percent can be recycled into marketable prod-
ucts. Nothing stands in the way. Every-
where a sensible recycling program is of-
fered, people flock to it. Seattle currently
recycles 34 percent of its trash... 70 percent of
the residents participate. Since recycling is
cheaper than any other method of handling
trash, and it is environmentally benign, wc
ought to recycle everything that is recyclable.
PPN: What are you currently working on at the
continued on page 8

Pollution Prevention News - 8
April 2990
^	EPA Earth Day 1990 - Tree Registry	^
1.	Project Title:		5. Number of Tree Planters Participating:	
2.	Contact:	6. Dedication Date: 	
Name: 		7. Planting Date: 	
Street-	8. Tree Species:	Quantity:
City, State, Zip: 	 Typel.	 	
Type 2.	 	
3.	Project Location: 	 Type 3.		
Others (s)
4. Participating Groups:	
Send to:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
OECM/Air (LE134-A)
401 M Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460
For more information, call: (202) 475-7091
Barry Commoner
(from page 7)
BC: We want more communities to move
into intensive recycling, so we are preparing
a book for communities on how to deal with
their trash problems. We are about to begin
a project advising the Bronx on trash. We just
completed an analysis of what is claimed
about biodegradable plastics—we concluded
that there is no evidence that the plastic itself
is biodegradable. In a different area, we are
completing a study for New York State on the
importance of energy conservation for en-
ergy policy... I'm sure that we will be doing
more on energy because of the importance of
global warming and the transition to solar
energy. We are also doing a study for Green-
peace on ways of evaluating the environ-
mental impact of toxic chemicals.
PPN: From a personal standpoint, what aspects
of your work have you found the most rewarding?
BC: One is the work that I do explaining
these things to people. I run into people who
tell me ho w much they've learned from thi ngs
I've written or speeches I've given. This is
gratifying. And in the last few years increas-
ingly, communities have asked us at the Cen-
ter to help them solve their problems. For
someone like me raised as a fundamental
scientist, who mostly wrote papers about
esoteric laboratory experiments, to do work
with real world consequences is very re-
Communities wishing to undertake recycling projects
with Dr. Commoner's assistance can call him at the
Center for the Biology of Natural Systems,
United States Environmental
Protection Agency (PM-219)
Washington, DC 20460
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300