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|RCA Newsletter - Month 2002|
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In the fallout after September 11, government officials and the media have increasingly encouraged Americans to consume in the name of patriotism, according to Grist Magazine's December 14, 2001 article, "Buy, Buy, Miss American Pie" by David Helvarg. In order to encourage consumer spending, a 10-day sales tax moratorium was proposed by members of Congress, among other plans. Helvarg asserts that the "shop 'till you drop" mentality of mindless consumption and consumer debt can only prop up an economy for so long. (In the mean time, forests suffer as a multitude of wood products are consumed in the frenzy.) As pointed out in Grist Magazine's December 14, 2001 article, "I want You ... To Buy More Stuff" by Jane Holtz Kay, this "buy first" motto is a far cry from the various conservation oriented slogans promoted during World War II, such as "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."
European countries may be doubling the recycling of packaging waste over the next five years reported Reuters News Service on December 10, 2001 in "EU Set to Double Packaging Recycling Targets." The European Union's executive arm issued new proposed rules which would increase recycling of packaging from the current 25-45 percent minimum to a target of 55-70 percent, depending on the type of packaging. Paper and board, in particular, will have a target of 55 percent. The new rules now go to the member states and the European Parliament for approval.
European countries are also moving forward with enforcement of packaging requirements, according to the December 12, 2001 Recycling Policy NewsBriefs Email Bulletin for Raymond Communications, Inc. Fortune 500 companies are receiving letters on this topic. Requirements often require manufacturers to determine if their packaging is recoverable, recyclable, compostable, reusable and source reduced.
On this side of the Atlantic, recycled packaging has received attention with the publication of the report, "Greener Cartons: A Buyer's Guide to Recycled-Content Paperboard" published by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation, a project of Environmental Defense. The report recommends that by adding 35 percent post-consumer recycled fiber in packaging materials, a number of environmental benefits result. Recycled paperboard competes favorably with virgin board in terms of appearance, quality and costs, with variety and availability improving dramatically in recent years. The report states that food service, medicines, cosmetics and tobacco packaging still chiefly use 100 percent virgin bleached paperboard.
Packaging may receive more scrutiny from an upcoming study, "Greening of Print" to be released by Nima Hunter, a New York City market research firm, reported Greenbiz.com in its December 19, 2001 article, "Beyond-compliance Study Probes Print Industry." According to Nima Hunter, the printing, packaging and publishing industry generates more than $1 trillion in annual revenue worldwide while depleting resources and producing waste. This series of benchmark studies will be used to forecast trends in sustainability practices among the 2,000 largest print companies in the world.
Perhaps, the most unusual "packaging" news of late is the Agricultural Research Service's development of edible packaging. According to Paper, Film and Foil Converter magazine's December 2001 article, "Will We Soon be Eating the Film Along with the Food," a new film made of pureed fruits and vegetables could replace numerous packaging materials for foods. The article states that littering and recycling would not be an issue, since consumers would simply eat the packaging. If that becomes the case, wood/paper packaging for food could one day become obsolete.
Packaging issues will be discussed at the 2002 Take It Back! Conference in Las Vegas on March 6-7, 2002. For more information, see Raymond Communications.
a) South Trades Forests for Paper
b) Feds Buy Potato-based Plates
c) 2001 Proved Poor Year for Recycled Paper
d) What Goes Around Comes Around
e) Wood Advocated as Renewable Energy
f) Authors Require Recycled Paper
g) If the First Little Pig Had Only Known About Hemp
h) California Greening: Government Buildings Conserve Materials
i) Companies Trade Postman for Internet during the Holidays
j) Sprechen Sie "Green?": Germany Takes Huge Leap Toward Sustainability
CAMPAIGNS & EVENTS
The National Recycling Congress is holding its annual conference in Seattle, Washington from January 13-16. For more information, see their website at <http://www.nrc-recycle.org>.
Greenpeace / Rainforest Relief activists are launching a campaign against furniture manufacturers for their consumption of wood from ancient tropical forests, particularly mahogany. Mahogany is often logged illegally and then laundered through "legal" documents. The campaign is targeting Ethan Allen, Stickley and Colonial Williamsburg which has licensed Stickley to produce a line of mahogany Colonial Williamsburg furniture. For more information, contact Tim Keating, Greenpeace, <http://www.greenpeaceusa.org>, 202.319.2448.
National Wildlife Federation's Campus Ecology program is launching a Driving Sustainable Markets campaign which will host a "Teach-In" consisting of a one-hour "on demand" web-based course focused on sustainably harvested woods, recycled paper, conservation coffee, renewable energy and efficient computers starting in April 2002. The course will be taught by the Director of Procurement for Rutgers University and author of Buying for the Future. For more information, contact Kathy Cacciola at email@example.com or 703.438.6318 or visit www.nwf.org/campusecology.
Growing Chlorine Free Markets: A World Summit will be held on January 24-25 in South Miami Beach, Florida. For more information, contact the Chlorine Free Products Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RESOURCES & ANNOUNCEMENTS
University of New Hampshire's administration is testing high
post-consumer recycled paper and has determined that the price
difference between recycled and virgin Boise Cascade paper is small.
The Student Senate has overwhelmingly passed a resolution to switch to
100 percent recycled by 2005. The White House is accepting nominations for its Closing the Circle
Awards -- a program which recognizes Federal employees and their
facilities for environmental initiatives. Some of the award categories
include waste/pollution prevention, recycling, affirmative procurement,
environmental preferability and model facility demonstrations. The
nominations are accepted until January 31, 2002. For more information,
contact the White House Task Force on Recycling at Task_Force@ofee.gov.
University of New Hampshire's administration is testing high post-consumer recycled paper and has determined that the price difference between recycled and virgin Boise Cascade paper is small. The Student Senate has overwhelmingly passed a resolution to switch to 100 percent recycled by 2005.
The White House is accepting nominations for its Closing the Circle Awards -- a program which recognizes Federal employees and their facilities for environmental initiatives. Some of the award categories include waste/pollution prevention, recycling, affirmative procurement, environmental preferability and model facility demonstrations. The nominations are accepted until January 31, 2002. For more information, contact the White House Task Force on Recycling at Task_Force@ofee.gov.