APC defends change in recycling formula
In the Page 10, Aug. 25 Perspective, ``Statistics get recycled, too,'' Steve Toloken ascribes the American Plastics Council's motives for adopting a new recycling rate methodology to ``public relations.''
This view apparently countermands that of Plastics News in its July 7 editorial, ``Public shouldn't snipe at recycling formula,'' which applauded APC's decision and went on to say the methodology change ``happens to be justified.''
Speaking of methodology, the Environmental Protection Agency's ``Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States'' defines its criteria for calculating MSW as follows: Recovery of materials means removing MSW from the waste stream for the purposes of recycling. Working with EPA, APC changed its methodology to better match the recovery methodologies reported by other industries to EPA.
APC and its member companies have worked hard to support the plastics recycling infrastructure and to increase plastics collection and recycling nationwide. And that hard work has paid off. The number of communities collecting plastics curbside for recycling is at an all-time high, up from 86 in 1986 to 6,198 in 1996. The volume of plastic bottles recycled also reached an all-time high in 1996: 1.3 billion pounds. The number of facilities accepting post-consumer plastics has increased steadily during the past five years too, from 1,546 to 1,705. With statistics such as these, there's no need to ``recycle numbers'' to generate PR.
American Plastics Council
Anti-expansionists claim consensus
Expansion of the bottle bill makes no ``cents'' for consumers or for state governments, contrary to your July 14, Page 10 Viewpoint titled ``It's time to support expanded bottle bill.''
Curbside recycling programs are thriving in communities all over the United States because consumers see the immediate benefit of reducing waste and improving their environment through this simple, cost-effective solution. Expansion of the bottle bill as an alternative to curbside recycling would confuse consumers. Expansion also leads to millions of dollars in higher product, store, enforcement and recycling costs.
Before any state begins the lengthy and divisive process of expanding a bottle bill, citizens should look to the example set by Oregon's voters just last fall. Oregon, widely considered to be a leading environmental state in the nation, refused to expand mandatory bottle deposits by a very high ``no'' vote of 60 percent.
Grocery Manufacturers of America and its 130 member companies, representing the largest volume (90 percent) of all food and consumer packaged brand-name products, could not have agreed more with Oregon voters. Expansion of any state bottle bill disrupts the success of community curbside recycling programs and forces consumers to pick up the enormous price tag.
Gerald R. Kunde II