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Single Stream: Closing the Loop
Taking A Whole Systems Approach
Sacramento, CA
May 23, 2005



Overview Design and Agenda Introduction

Morning Presentations

Benefits of Single Stream Challenges of Single Stream Recycled Product Manufacturing - What's the Future?

Afternoon Break-Outs

#1 - What Are We Building? #2 - Do We Have All the Right Tools? Thought Questions


Wrap Up Organizing Photos


Recycling As A Whole System: Who's In the Driver's Seat?

Many answers:

Collectors are in the driver's seat. We collect locally and divert globally . . . Users are in the driver's seat . . . planners . . . the legislature . . . China and India . . . consumers . . . all of us . . . NIMBYs . . . people controlling the money in local governments - politicians, economics, budgets . . . manufacturers . . . resources, power, water, utilities . . . voters . . . environmental organizations . . . Europe . . . energy . . . trade associations . . . the forest fiber in Russia . . . haulers and MRFs . . .

Proposals for Moving Forward

Need more public education.

Use RMDZs to develop local global markets.

Tweak diversion legislation to add value considerations.

Rank MRFs for quality (how much of their production is truly recycled, what's the quality of their materials?).

Rank cities for the quality of their programs (how much of their program's materials are truly recycled, how good is the quality?).

Give California manufacturers the first right of refusal on materials at processors.

Use the LEED green building model for evaluating the higher and/or best uses for different types of materials, create a LEED-type system to evaluate diversion.

Track where recovered materials go.

Get data back from manufacturers on how much inappropriate waste is coming to them. (The mill representatives in the group made a commitment to do that.)

Define "diversion" vs. "recycling." They are not the same. Clarify.

Look at the cost/benefit of the compaction ratio in single stream programs. Develop a workable balance between mill needs and MRF needs.

Develop Best Practices for technology, contracting, more.

There is a bill in the California legislature to exempt the purchase of manufacturing equipment from sales tax. Does that apply to recycling equipment?

Preserve flexibility in technology choices. WeĠre dealing with rapidly changing markets.

Focus on the quality of the recycling stream.

Focus on the quality of recycling practices.

Research and develop new technology.

Train municipal coordinators to understand the recycling process, not just fill out papers.

Eliminate virgin materials subsidies, look for appropriate incentives and subsidies for recycled materials.

Create a forum for ongoing collaboration in envisioning and guiding whole-system development of the recycling system. California recyclers had not had before today the kind of dialogue we had here, hadn't met people from some of the other recycling sectors before. It would be a shame to stop now.

In the next forum, discuss the real-life implications of government policies. Stimulate more discussion about ideas, whether others have done them, what was the outcome.

Those running the state RMDZ program have tried to create that kind of discussion about Recycling Market Development Zones. They hold quarterly meetings, kind of like a "Ôroad show," in different California cities with interesting developments relevant to the RMDZ program. Maybe we could connect with that? Also, trade groups have regional meetings. We should explore whether more of this whole-system discussion can be encouraged at those.

NEPSI (National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative) might be a model to look at for bringing together more discussions with multiple sectors that have different agendas yet need to build a cooperative system.

How can we communicate today's dialogue about the limitations of AB 939 to the legislature? There has been a lot of very constructive dialogue about it today.

Will Conservatree continue to take responsibility for putting together opportunities for further discussions?

Keep an open mind on emerging technologies that may be thought of as "diversion" but aren't, such as some conversion technologies. At the same time, some emerging technologies might be positive and we should be alert to exploiting them.

Manufacturers need to come up with positive proposals to deal with the problems, not just say, "We should go back to how it used to be." (Recommended by a representative of a manufacturer)

We need to share solutions that are low-tech, not only high-tech. For example, less compaction might be an important difference to explore. Let's not just expect we have to spend a lot of money on equipment.

Let's create a steering committee to keep moving this forward. Conservatree was asked to be the facilitator and agreed. Several Roundtable participants volunteered to join in.

Overwhemingly the group agreed -

Great Start! Let's Keep These Discussions Going!

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