The GrassRoots Recycling Network received a major financial boost in its efforts to make manufacturers responsible for cutting waste, receiving two grants totaling $130,000 from foundations affiliated with media mogul Ted Turner and journalist Bill Moyers.
The grants will let the group hire a full-time coordinator, help fund a report on tax subsidies GRRN says harm recycling and pay for local activities.
GRRN intends to ``get back on the Coke campaign'' that had been pressuring Coca-Cola Co. to use recycled PET in its bottles in the United States, as it does in Europe and Australia, said Bill Sheehan, GRRN's new network coordinator. Athens, Ga.-based GRRN announced the grants July 23.
The group said it aims to elevate the issue of getting manufacturers to pay for or take more responsibility for the waste their products generate.
``A central missing piece of getting to zero waste is corporate accountability and producer responsibility,'' Sheehan said. ``The U.S. has fallen out of step with the rest of the world in this regard.''
Rick Best, GRRN chairman and policy director for Californians Against Waste, said ``local governments and taxpayers are making major commitments to recycle, but are losing ground against the tide of disposable products and packaging and the failure of manufacturers to use recycled materials.''
Most of the money will be spent on GRRN's direct-action campaigns, like the Coke effort, Sheehan said. The group may look at PVC issues and trends away from the use of reusable toner and inkjet cartridges.
GRRN's report, called Welfare for Wasting, will look at what GRRN says are subsidies for virgin materials production, including petroleum, that harm recycling. The report is a collaboration between GRRN and three Washington-based organizations: Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Materials Efficiency Project and Friends of the Earth. The groups hope to release the report at the end of September, Sheehan said.
GRRN also will start a Wastemaker Awards to highlight firms that harm the environment.
The grants came from the Turner Foundation in Atlanta and the Florence and John Schumann Foundation in Montclair, N.J. Moyers heads the Schumann Foundation.