Plastic Bag “Mockumentary”

The Majestic Plastic Bag – A Mockumentary is a video on YouTube. From the State of Montana Green Newsletter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLgh9h2ePYw&feature=player_embedded

Another person claimed that this video is their favorite video on plastic bag film. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDBtCb61Sd4

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Plastic Bag “Mockumentary”

From the State Recyling Newsletter

February 8, 2010
WasteP2 Listserve
Energy and Pollution Prevention Bureau
Department of Environmental Quality

News and Updates

1. Why single-stream (or one-bin) recycling sabotages recycling goals:
“Understanding Economic And Environmental Impacts Of Single-Stream Collection Systems,” a report by the Container Recycling Institute, highlights the economic and environmental impacts of switching to a single-stream system [which collects all recyclables in one bin] (www.container-recycling.org). The report finds that:

“In general, the final commodities from single stream programs will be more contaminated than those that are collected in a dual-stream system or sorted at the curb. This contamination increase often results in the commodity being worth less than cleaner material, and can create problems at paper mills, leading to equipment failure, lost productivity and expensive repairs.

In other words, the cost savings for a municipality from single-stream collection show up as cost increases for the processors and remanufacturers. The contaminants are thrown away by the paper mills. So an item, such as a plastic bottle that was recyclable when it was placed at the curb, becomes trash by the time it is sorted as a contaminant by the paper mill.

And

“―In summary, with increased processing costs and lost revenues in total far exceeding collection savings in most instances (and zero under alternating-week collection), overall single-stream recycling does not show the cost advantage that was originally anticipated. As well, the expected increases in capture rate are also not apparent. Overall, dual-stream recycling still appears to be more advantageous.”
-excerpted from American Recycler

Attendees at last spring’s Waste Not Montana Conference had this confirmed in person by Lynnette Mathisen of International Paper Recycling. Lynnette explained that her paper mill used to empty their garbage trailer twice per day, but now that municipalities are using single-stream recycling, her mill must empty the garbage trailer EIGHT times per day.

2. New study looks at litter and why people do it
A study by Keep America Beautiful examines litter and littering behavior. As the largest litter study ever conducted in the United States, and the first major survey in 40 years, the study provides a snapshot of current litter ‘trends’, and includes recommendations for continuing to decrease this behavior (the study found that litter has decreased by 61% since 1968). Some key findings:

 We pay approximately $11.5 billion per year in direct costs to control litter. These costs include cleanup and prevention programs which are covered largely by businesses and taxpayers.
 There are, on average, 6,729 pieces of litter per mile.
 Cigarette butts comprise 38% of all items littered
 Most littering (81% of observed behaviors) was committed “with intent” by the individual
 We are 15% more likely to litter when there is already existing litter.
 Age matters. Older individuals (30 and over) littered less than younger individuals, but gender was surprisingly not related to litter rates.

3. Air Quality: Indoors matters too
Those of us here in Montana are used to looking for air quality reports and no-burn notices when the weather turns cold and inversions are created. But have you considered the quality of the air inside your home? The furniture, candles, knickknacks, and cleaning products we bring into our home affect air quality just as much wood stoves, vehicle and industrial emissions affect outdoor air quality. In fact, the EPA acknowledges that a growing body of scientific evidence “indicates that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.”

Learn how to improve the indoor air quality of your home, by visiting the following websites:

 Green Cleaning Toolkit, information on disinfectants, Women’s Voices for the Earth (womenandenvironment.org)
 Indoor Air Quality, Sierra Club Green Home (www.sierraclubgreenhome.com/home-health/indoor-air-quality-2/)
 Indoor Air Quality, EPA’s website includes information on asthma, mold, radon, and a virtual tour of every room in the house and the key pollutants associated each room. (www.epa.gov/iaq)

Wondering about your office too? Check out the EPA’s An Office Building Occupant’s Guide to Indoor Air Quality. (http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/occupgd.html)

4. Farm to Restaurant Report
The Western Sustainability Exchange (formerly Corporation for the Northern Rockies) works to encourage sustainable agriculture, and to create markets for sustainably produced products. Find out which restaurants participated, where you can find them, and how purchases support local farmers and ranchers in Montana. Learn about the program here or view their Farm to Restaurant Report to see what was accomplished in the past year, and the goals set for 2010.
(http://files.e2ma.net/1400376/assets/docs/wse_farm_to_restaurant_report.pdf)

7. EPA promotes shifting from waste management to Materials Management
The EPA explains that “If we want the US to be competitive in the world economy, the sustainable use of materials must be our goal.” In 2009 the EPA released Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead which suggests a roadmap for the future based on materials management—fulfilling human needs and prospering, which using fewer materials, reducing toxics and recovering more of the materials used.

The EPA recognizes that considerable work is already being done in this area, but that fully embracing this concept of managing materials with pollution prevention in mind every step of the way, is a strategy that will be “an important shift of emphasis from waste management to materials management,” and will “refocus the way our economy uses and manages materials and products.”

Materials management is focused on:
1. Knowing and reducing the lifecycle impacts across the supply chain;
2. Using less material inputs (reduce, reuse, recycle);
3. Using less toxic and more renewable materials; and
4. Considering whether services can be substituted for products.

The roadmap includes 3 main recommendations:
1: Promote efforts to manage materials and products on a life-cycle basis
2: Build capacity and integrate materials management approaches in existing government programs
3: Accelerate the broad, ongoing public dialogue on life-cycle materials management

The next update of Montana’s Integrated Waste Management Plan is likely to include consideration of the roadmap recommended by EPA.

8. Glass-making infrastructure in U.S. not likely to recover (strongly)
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/business/19glass.html?ref=business

9. RecycleMania started Jan. 17th
This is the 10th year that this college-based recycling competition has taken place. Over a 10-week period, schools report recycling and waste data, which is then ranked according to how many recyclables are collected per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, and/or which school has the highest recycling rate. Last year the competition collected 69.4 million pounds of recyclable material!

10. Recycling prices move up (excerpted from Resource Recycling)
Recycling processors are smiling again. The value of many secondary materials has moved higher in the past three weeks.

Recovered paper prices rose by $25 to $50 per ton in late December and early January, fueled by robust export demand during a period of low generation. Buyers report a lack of bales throughout the supply chain, which is giving support for predictions of continuing price improvement.

Cold weather in much of the country has led to just a trickle of scrap being received by American scrap metal processors. As a result, domestic and foreign steel mills are scrambling to acquire sufficient material to keep their furnaces operating. This has helped push prices up handsomely.

Virgin plastic producers are again seeking more for their products due to rising feedstock costs. This has provided an opportunity for recycled resin makers to also move prices upward.

One constraint to improving markets is the lack of overseas shipping containers. Shipping lines have few containers available, and the empty containers they do have are being provided first to shippers of finished goods, rather than firms moving lower-valued recyclable materials, which typically pay a lower fee.
-From Resource Recycling

From the State Recyling Newsletter