Showing posts with label Californians against waste. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Californians against waste. Show all posts

Monday, February 23, 2009

How We Think Before We Speak: Making Sense Of Sentences

We engage in numerous discussions throughout the day, about a variety of topics, from work assignments to the Super Bowl to what we are having for dinner that evening. We effortlessly move from conversation to conversation, probably not thinking twice about our brain's ability to understand everything that is being said to us. How does the brain turn seemingly random sounds and letters into sentences with clear meaning?


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In a new report in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, psychologist Jos J.A. Van Berkum from the Max Planck Institute in The Netherlands describes recent experiments using brain waves to understand how we are able to make sense of sentences.

In these experiments, Van Berkum and his colleagues examined Event Related Potentials (or ERPs) as people read or heard critical sentences as part of a longer text, or placed in some other type of context. ERPs are changes in brain activity that occur when we hear a certain stimulus, such as a tone or a word. Due to their speed, ERPs are useful for detecting the incredibly fast processes involved in understanding language.

Analysis of the ERPs has consistently indicated just how quickly the brain is able to relate unfolding sentences to earlier ones. For example, Van Berkum and colleagues have shown that listeners only need a fraction of a second to determine that a word is out of place, given what the wider story is about. As soon as listeners hear an unexpected word, their brain generates a specific ERP, the N400 effect (so named because it is a negative deflection peaking around 400 milliseconds). And even more interesting, this ERP will usually occur before the word is even finished being spoken.

In addition to the words themselves, the person speaking them is a crucial component in understanding what is being said. Van Berkum also saw an N400 effect occurring very rapidly when the content of a statement being spoken did not match with the voice of the speaker (e.g. "I have a large tattoo on my back" in an upper-class accent or "I like olives" in a young child's voice). These findings suggest that the brain very quickly classifies someone based on what their voice sounds like and also makes use of social stereotypes to interpret the meaning of what is being said. Van Berkum speculates that "the linguistic brain seems much more 'messy' and opportunistic than originally believed, taking any partial cue that seems to bear on interpretation into account as soon as it can."

But how does the language brain act so fast? Recent findings suggest that, as we read or have a conversation, our brains are continuously trying to predict upcoming information. Van Berkum suggests that this anticipation is a combination of a detailed analysis about what has been said before with taking 'quick-and-dirty' shortcuts to figure out what, most likely, the next bit of information will be.

One important element in keeping up with a conversation is knowing what or whom speakers are actually referring to. For example, when we hear the statement, "David praised Linda because. . .," we expect to find out more about Linda, not David. Van Berkum and colleagues showed that when listeners heard "David praised Linda because he. . .," there was a very strong ERP effect occurring with the word "he," of the type that is also elicited by grammatical errors. Although the pronoun is grammatically correct in this statement, the ERP occurred because the brain was just not expecting it. This suggests that the brain will sometimes ignore the rules of grammar when trying to comprehend sentences.

These findings reveal that, as we make sense of an unfolding sentence, our brains very rapidly draw upon a wide range of information, including what was stated previously and who the speaker is, in helping us understand what is being said to us. Sentence understanding is not just about diligently combining stored word meanings. The brain rapidly throws in everything it knows, and it is always looking ahead.


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Monday, January 19, 2009

Tequila gives Mexico an environmental hangover

THE benefits of a good name only stretch so far.

A "geographical indication" (GI) that legally ties products like champagne and tequila to their place of origin and cultural heritage does not always help the region it sets out to protect.

Sarah Bowen of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and her colleagues found that tying the making of tequila to the Jalisco region of Mexico has made its production socially and ecologically unsustainable.

Tequila's blue agave plant takes six years to mature, leading to an unstable local supply. This, plus a huge leap in demand for the drink since the 1990s, has driven many liquor companies to grow their own near Jalisco (Journal of Rural Studies, DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2008.07.003).

This has led to "environmental degradation and the elimination of traditional practices", says Bowen. Tequila - the first GI granted outside Europe - should be a lesson to other poor nations, says Bowen. "The specification of sustainable production practices within [the GI] legal framework is essential," she says.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Enviro Economics, green bubble burst?

Among the hardest hit is T. Boone Pickens and his alternative energy hedge fund BP Capital, which has reportedly lost some $2 billion. The Oklahoma oil tycoon who leased hundreds of thousands of acres in West Texas for a giant wind farm, has put that project on hold, saying he'll have to wait for fossil-fuel prices to rise again in order to make the project economically viable. Oil was at $48 a barrel this week, down from a peak of $147 in July. Another canary in the coal mine: the once soaring market for carbon credits in Europe has tanked, as manufacturing firms worldwide slow production. Even the once promising sector of corn ethanol has gone bust, with the American company VeraSun declaring bankruptcy in October and other publicly held ethanol companies reduced to penny stocks.

Some sectors are brighter than others. Rick Hanna, an equity analyst at Morningstar, remains bullish on solar companies. "The United States promises to be one of the largest ultimate markets for solar power," he says. The sector has suffered in the short term from lower fossil-fuel prices, but Hanna's counting on the new Obama administration to put through a cap-and-trade program to help bridge the cost difference. "It's early on in solar's technological revolution," he says. "The cost will come down, and the cost of fossil fuel will rise, not just because of supply and demand, but also with the carbon-tax regimes, which may make it more expensive for traditional power to operate." And, regardless of what is happening in the United States, Germany, Japan and Spain continue to be major markets for solar energy (Germany is the world's largest, followed by the United States and Spain), aided by generous helpings of government investment.

The road for green mutual funds has been decidedly bumpier. Just one year ago, these funds, which tend to invest in more volatile small-cap stocks, were riding a wave of popularity. The Winslow Green Growth Fund, launched in 2001, was seeing 5-year average returns of 25 percent. The New Alternatives Fund was seeing a 20 percent average annual rate of return. In 2008, the Winslow fund, which invests in such companies as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Green Mountain Coffee and First Solar, hit a low of $16 (down from $30 a year ago) before rising into the low $20s this week. "I think we're seeing now that the market has found a bottom," says Matthew Patsky, manager of Winslow's Green Growth Fund. "We are seeing more money coming back into the market looking for attractive values, and it seems they are seeking out green companies in a big way." Environmentally friendly companies have high growth potential, especially with the incoming administration in Washington, he says.

Perhaps, but that possibility is little comfort to companies like Covanta Energy, a New Jersey-based company that converts waste into electricity and recycles metal. The company has relatively lucrative long-term contracts with municipalities around the country that pay Covanta a fixed price for collecting their trash while also receiving revenue from utilities that buy the electricity the company produces. Covanta gets even more revenue from additional electricity that it sells on the open market. "It's a very stable business model, and yet the stock has been slammed," says Patsky. Covanta stock hit a low of $15 in October, down from a 52-week high of $30, before rebounding to $21 on Friday.

Stock market volatility isn't likely to settle any time soon. According to Michael Herbst, a Morningstar equity analyst who follows mutual funds, weaker green companies will probably get weeded out before the crisis comes to an end—much the way weaker dotcoms failed after the first tech bubble burst, though he hesitates to draw too much of a parallel between the two economic periods. "During the tech bubble you saw people investing like mad in companies with no products and no revenues, nothing other than allure," he says. "That certainly is the case for some companies related to alternative energy, especially the very early stage companies. But you're also including in this bucket, well established, international companies like Vestas [one of the world's largest wind turbine manufacturers]." Over the next 10 to 15 years, says Herbst, the outlook for green funds is good, because "the need for alternative energy and clean technology is going to remain important." But the next two years look cloudy. "It's a very tough time for earlier stage companies," he says. You bet your bubble.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recycling Myths: PM Debunks 5 Half Truths about Recycling

Is chucking a soda can in the trash an unforgivable sin? That depends who you ask: You'll find plenty of people on both sides of the great recycling debate, each equally convinced the other side is ill-informed. The truth is that opponents and proponents alike often rely on facts that are outdated, oversimplified or simply untrue. We tackle five of the biggest myths about recycling. For more, check out the December issue of Popular Mechanics.

By Alex Hutchinson


1. We have to recycle because we're running out of landfill space.
That was the rallying cry for recycling advocates back in the 1980s, when the Mobro 4000 garbage barge wandered up and down the East Coast searching for a place to dump its moldering load. It's a bit of a red herring, though. After all, we have pretty much unlimited space to dump garbage—if we're willing. In practice, for every town that refuses permission to build a landfill, there's often another town eager for the revenues that a landfill site can bring.

According to the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), the United States has about 20 years of disposal capacity left in existing landfills. There are, however, places where space is getting tight: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Rhode Island all have less than five years capacity, and the northeastern part of the country in general has the least available landfill space.

These regional variations point to a different motivation for the "recycle to save landfill space" argument. The average tipping fee at landfills in the Northeast region, according to the most recent NSWMA figures, is over $70 a ton, compared to a national average of just $34. In other words, even if the scarcity of landfill space turns out not to be a strong environmental argument for recycling, there can be powerful economic incentives to reduce landfill intake.


2. The trucks that collect recycling burn more energy and produce more pollution than recycling saves.
Collecting recyclables isn't cheap—it eats up about 50 to 60 percent of the budget of a typical curbside recycling program, according to Lori Scozzafava of the Solid Waste Association of North America. And the trucks burn gas and emit pollution as they go. That said, "You're going to collect waste one way or another," points out Jeff Morris, a Washington-based environmental consultant. A recycling program should allow garbage collection to become less frequent (or to use fewer trucks), offsetting the cost and energy involved. Plus, new truck designs can collect both recycling and garbage (at different times), avoiding the huge capital expense of an extra fleet. They can also self-dump specially designed bins, saving time and manpower.

But all that turns out to be pretty much irrelevant to the question of whether recycling makes environmental sense. Scientists have conducted hundreds of "life-cycle analyses" to compare recycling with other options like landfill and incineration, following the entire chain of events from the manufacture of a product (using either virgin or recycled materials) to its disposal. The dominant factor in virtually every case is the enormous amount of energy required to turn raw materials into metals and plastics compared to the energy needed to reprocess products that already exist.

A study by Morris found that it takes 10.4 million Btu to manufacture products from a ton of recyclables, compared to 23.3 million Btu for virgin materials. In contrast, the total energy for collecting, hauling and processing a ton of recyclables adds up to just 0.9 million Btu. The bottom line: We don't need to worry that recycling trucks are doing more harm than good.


3. Thanks to the sky-high prices of raw materials, cities are getting rich by selling recyclables.
In the past year, prices for almost every kind of recyclable have hit record highs, sparking a frenzy of activity in the recycling industry. "If you're wondering where all the used-car salesmen have gone, they're rushing into recycling," says Jerry Powell, an industry veteran who edits Resource Recycling magazine. That translates to profits for many players—in fact, Powell says, "if you can't make money in recycling right now, you should get out of the business."

Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean that your local city council is getting a cut of the action. "Some cities are still locked in unfavorable long-term contracts and paying tipping fees," says Ed Skernolis of the National Recycling Council. That means that these cities have to pay to collect and sort their curbside recycling—and then pay someone to take away these now-valuable materials instead of being paid for them.

Given how much the price of recyclables has fluctuated in the past, these contracts made sense for cities when they were signed: Locking in costs allows municipalities to budget properly. But now, global contracts ensure a large fraction of U.S. recycling ships to China, so the recycling market has less volatility as well as higher prices. As municipal recycling contracts come up for renewal, cities like Chicago are finally able to turn their piles of cans, bottles and newspapers into a stable revenue stream.

CONTINUED: Is Your Recycling Sorted by Hand? >>>

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Canadian mob turns to e-scrap

According to a recent report by Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (Ottawa) — Canada's national intelligence agency — organized crime in the Great White North has been increasingly turning to the illegal sale and exportation of scrap electronics to developing countries.
According to the agency's 2008 Report on Organized Crime, the illegal trafficking of e-scrap has grown in recent years, and the CISC expects the trade to peak between 2009-2011, due to the switch-over from analog-to-digital television broadcasting in the U.S. and Canada.
The fact that criminals are targeting waste electronics is stark evidence as the scrap's rising value in the global economy. "If it was not lucrative, organized crime groups would not be involved in it," said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner William Elliott.
The report further warns that "incorrect handling of some e-waste, such as obsolete disk drives, could be illicitly obtained by organized crime to collect and exploit government, corporate or personal information."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Printed wiring board value rebounds

The gross value of printed wiring board scrap in June 2008 was $4.65 per pound, up 2.9 percent from the May figure. The figure is up 28 percent over June 2007's numbers. The average value of board scrap for the first half of 2008 is now $4.71 per pound, a 33-percent improvement over the first six months of 2007.
This data represents the full metallic values of boards over time and are not the recycling values, as those values do not include the costs involved in actually extracting metal from boards, including freight, sampling charges, assay assessments, smelting, refining, process loss, return on investment, and penalties for various elements, including beryllium, bismuth and nickel.
These values are for the estimated intrinsic metal content of recovered PC boards. Some consumers label such material as mid-value. Lower-value scrap includes monitor and television boards. Higher-value scrap includes network and video cards, and motherboards.
The March 2008 printed-wiring board value, at $5.03 per pound, was the highest in almost seven years, with the lowest, at $1.62 per pound, in November 2001.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bottle Bill Expansion Passed out of the Senate.

Thanks for Your Support: All Priority Waste Reduction and Recycling Bills pass out of their houses of origin!

Bottle Bill Expansion Passed out of the Senate.

CAW-sponsored SB 1625 (Corbett) cleared a big hurdle today, making it off the Senate floor with a 21 to 18 vote. This bill aims to expand California's successful container recycling program to include all plastic bottles which will significantly reduce plastic litter pollution. This measure will result in the recycling of more than 3 billion additional plastic bottles, annually reducing littered and landfilled plastic waste by 130,000 tons and providing local governments with an additional $100 million dollars. The expansion of California's Container Recycling Law was the #1 recommendation of the California Ocean Protection Council's recommendations on marine debris.

Shopping Bag Reduction Bill Advances to Senate.

CAW sponsored AB 2058 (Levine), which would institute the toughest-in-the-nation litter abatement law for carryout bags, passed out of the Assembly May 28 with a 44-33 vote. This bill would require bag diversion benchmarks be met or would require retailers charge a per-bag fee. AB 2058 would also give local governments the option to charge fees on plastic bags immediately. AB 2058 will next be heard in a Senate policy committee.

Toxic Packaging Phase-Out Bill Moves out of Assembly.

CAW-Sponsored AB 2505 (Brownley) passed out of the Assembly May 28 and now heads to the Senate. The bill will help prevent human and environmental exposure to toxins as well as encourage the recycling of consumer packaging by phasing out the use of toxic, non-recyclable PVC packaging. Previously, this bill passed out of Assembly Appropriations May 22 and passed out of the Asm. ESTM committee on April 15. AB 2505 is now headed to the State Senate.

Compostable Organics Management Bill heads to the Senate.

AB 2640 (Huffman) made it off the Assembly Floor May 28 and now moves to the Senate. AB 2640 would help expand the state's composting infrastructure by providing grants for facility operators to overcome regulatory barriers. The money for these grants would be generated through a fee on the use of green materials as landfill cover, a practice that has significant environmental impacts. Previously, the bill passed off the Assembly Floor May 28, passed out of Assembly Appropriations May 22, and passed out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on April 14th with a 5-3 vote.



Recycling News

May 20 - SF Plastic Bag Ban Expands to Pharmacies

May 21 -Beverage Container Recycling Rate Rises to 67%

May 28 - Report Contends That Recycling Is Not So Wasteful



Please Help Support Californians Against Waste - DONATE NOW!

Over the next three months, CAW's resources will be challenged as we work to advance several major waste prevention and recycling measures. Your online contribution today will help us to full staff up. We have several excellent summer internship candidates, but lack the resources to hire them. We would greatly appreciate your most generous contribution.

The Recycling Advocate is published at least twice monthly during the legislative session by the environmental group Californians Against Waste.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Is a Plane Boarding Pass a Threat?

We have looked at the stub from the boarding pass and wondered what to do with it. You most likely have found two or three in the seat pocket from the seats prior holders. But is the information dangerous?

Alone no, but it gives enough insight into you to get everything an identity thief needs. They get your name, a good idea of your home town and some recent travel information. The thief uses these bits of information to get more form unsuspecting customer service reps.

Always shred everything with your name or any other personally identifying information.

Read More.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Sahara

Sahara made slow transition from green to desert

A picture taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Terra satelliteon shows dust blowing northward out of the Sahara Desert and over the Mediterranean Sea. The Sahara became the world's biggest hot desert some 2,700 years ago after a very slow fade from green, according to a new study which clashes with the theory that desertification came abruptly.


The Sahara became the world's biggest hot desert some 2,700 years ago after a very slow fade from green, according to a new study which clashes with the theory that desertification came abruptly.

Six thousand years ago, the massive arid region dominating northern Africa was quite green, a patchwork of trees and savannas as well as many sparkling lakes.

The region, larger than Australia, also was inhabited, according to the European-US-Canadian team of scientists behind a study in Science dated May 9.

Most of the physical elements that could tell the tale of the Sahara's geographic evolution have been lost. The scientists studied layers of sediment in one of the largest remaining Sahara lakes, Yoa, in a remote spot in northern Chad, which took them back through six millennia of climate history.

They looked at sediments, did soil tests and reviewed biological indicators such as plant and tree pollen and spores that were present before the desert encroached. They also studied the remains of aquatic microorganisms.

Their findings contradicted previous modeling that indicated a rapid collapse of vegetation in the region in a sudden end to the African Humid Period, about 5,500 years ago, said Stefan Kropelin, a geologist at the Prehistoric Archaeology Institute of the University of Cologne who took part in the new study.

In 2000, a study by Peter de Menocal of Columbia University of sediments in the west of Mauritania found a sudden increase in wind-carried dust blown off the Sahara region, suggesting swift climate change.

But data from Lake Yoa shows the opposite, and the transition to desert took its time, said Kropelin. He said he believed de Menocal's data were not wrong but misinterpreted.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Across the country, local governments are faced with the challenge of meeting recycling goals, reducing solid waste tonnage and minimizing costs. Glass is one of the most challenging materials to recycle, with most county and city recycling programs incurring net costs to recycle the material. Over the years, several alternative uses for recycled glass have been identified, such as “glassphalt” and landscaping applications. However, a Florida program evaluating the feasibility of using pulverized recycled glass for beach renourishment may provide a cost-effective approach for managing this material.
In the July 2005 issue of Waste Age, an article entitled “Beach in a Bottle” (www.wasteage.com/mag/waste_beach_bottle/index.html) described a project that Broward County, Fla., is conducting to investigate the feasibility of using recycled glass for beach renourishment. The following is an update on that project.
The first phase was designed to gauge public perception of the project while conducting a comparative analysis of the properties of natural beach sand and the artificial sand made from glass cullet. On the public perception side, tourism officials and beach professionals were very interested in the concept, while Broward County residents found the idea equally appealing. Meanwhile, geotechnical and contaminant analyses of grain size, distribution, munsell color, carbonate content, grain angularity and chemical composition revealed that glass cullet compares closely to natural sand.
More recently, the county has been conducting additional research to determine the long-term viability of using recycled glass for beach erosion control and renourishment.
Aquarium and Abiotic Testing
In 2005, the county developed a biological analysis program to monitor the survivability of fish and other fauna species within specific proportions of natural sand and glass cullet. Species then were introduced into a matrix comprised of varying ratios of cullet and natural sand. The species' ability to survive was monitored for any deviations from natural sand. The glass cullet utilized for these and subsequent tests was similar in grain size to natural beach sand (approx. 0.33 to 0.90 mm). After two months of testing, officials determined that pulverized glass cullet does not adversely affect macro or microorganisms. The species studied displayed normal active behavior with the glass cullet and showed no adverse signs of physical stress. Results indicated that the organism mortality rate was equivalent to natural sand.
In March 2006, a test plot was constructed on the upland portion of Hollywood Beach for a six-month experiment to determine if glass cullet mixtures exhibit the same abiotic characteristics (temperature, moisture content, gas exchange) when compared to natural beach sand. The test plot simulated a sea turtle hatchery enclosure and contained 16 individual test areas, each measuring 5 feet square and 3 feet deep. The results indicated that the glass cullet/sand mixtures displayed no significant difference from natural sand, and the mixtures could allow for proper sea turtle embryo development.
Next Steps
The overall results of the geotechnical, public perception, aquarium and abiotic tests indicate that the project is technically feasible. In Broward County, the presence of nesting loggerhead turtles and the beach-based economy create unique concerns that must be considered and addressed in all beach erosion control and renourishment efforts. However, research shows that manufacturing a sand product from recycled glass is a promising solution anywhere beaches are eroding and glass is a net cost to recycle.
Broward County currently is permitting phase two of this demonstration project, which will involve experimental testing at the shoreline on Hollywood Beach. Approximately 2,000 cubic yards of pulverized glass cullet will be placed at the shoreline, allowing the county and its project consultants to monitor its performance and evaluate its similarities to the existing beach sand when subjected to wind and waves. Specifically, the testing will determine if glass cullet can be used to address erosion “hot spots” on the beach, which are smaller areas that suffer from critical erosion problems. As part of this phase, the county also will be investigating the feasibility of long-term methods of producing the pulverized glass.
Peter Foye, Director, Recycling and Contract Division, Broward County, Fla.; Phil Bresee, Recycling Program Manager, Broward County, Fla.; Sanford Gutner, PE, Senior Associate, Malcolm Pirnie Inc.; Holly M. P. Burton, PE, Associate, Malcolm Pirnie Inc.; Ryann M. Davis, Engineer, Malcolm Pirnie Inc.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wireless

HIGH-PITCHED DIGITAL MELODIES and the phrase, “Can you hear me now?” have become mainstream in recent years, thanks to the growing popularity of wireless phones. But while consumers are buying phones equipped with games, text messaging and cameras, the industry has yet to provide for another important demand — an easy disposal system for that outdated phone and a product that is easy to recycle or refurbish.

Next year, Americans are predicted to buy more than 100 million new cell phones and stuff their old phones into closets, drawers and other nooks around the house or office. At that point, the stockpile of out-of-service phones will rise to 500 million units weighing 250,000 tons (about one pound each), according to “Calling All Cell Phones,” a 2003 report by Inform Inc., a New York-based research organization.

“The numbers today are the same as what we found in 2003,” says Eric Most, who authored the Inform report. “At current rates of recovery, hundreds of millions of used cell phones will soon wind up in landfills or incinerators where they'll release arsenic, lead, cadmium and many other toxic materials that threaten human health and the environment,” he says.

Thus, the cell phone industry is scrambling to develop comprehensive disposal alternatives. Cell phone recycling programs are moving in the right direction, Most says, but their scope is dwarfed by the stunning growth of the industry. In 1995, wireless phone carriers supplied service to approximately 34 million subscribers. At the beginning of 2003, there were 141 million cell phone users. According to industry estimates, the average cell phone lasts about 1.5 years. If this estimate is correct, 141 million more phones will require disposal by the end of 2005.

But developing recycling streams for new products takes time. Between 1999 and early 2003, cell phone recycling efforts netted fewer than 5 million phones, about 1 percent of those discarded.

Wireless industry affiliates account for the lion's share of discarded cell phone collection and recycling, according to Inform. Programs include Donate-A-Phone, operated by the Washington, D.C.-based Wireless Foundation, and the Call-To-Protect program, which Verizon Wireless of Bedminster, N.J., operates through its organization HopeLine. AT&T Wireless recently entered the field with a Wireless Reuse & Recycle program.

Additionally, a number of manufacturers and wireless carriers participate in Wireless Foundation programs: Alltel, Cingular, Motorola, Nextel, Rural Cellular Corp. and Sprint. These programs refurbish phones and donate them to charities or resell them to new users. Cell phones that cannot be refurbished are recycled back into the manufacturing process. However, that leaves 495 million cell phones with no place to go but the landfill.

“Bottom line, this is a matter for concern, but not alarm,” says Bruce Parker, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), a sub-association of the Environmental Industry Association (EIA). “Every few years, the e-waste stream changes as technology replaces older products. The technical ability to discover toxic and potentially negative aspects of electronic products is still far ahead of the ability to deal with those discoveries in terms of social policies.”

Parker goes on to note that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., currently is working with companies that manufacture electronic products to develop an infrastructure of programs to refurbish and recycle e-waste, including cell phones. Yet he believes the responsibility for dealing with e-waste must ultimately fall on manufacturers and retailers.

“It is an ups
tream responsibility,” Parker says. “We are part of the loop in that we eyeball incoming trash and comply with landfill bans by sending banned materials back. But you can't deal with the problem itself downstream at the landfill.”

The Inform report draws a similar conclusion and recommends a number of steps to help cell phone retailers and manufacturers control the problem.

The recommendations include national advertising campaigns that advise consumers to return their old cell phones to stores and manufacturers, to take advantage of cell phone collection drives, and to donate cell phones to charities that refurbish and redistribute the phones.
Inform also recommends that manufacturers develop more durable plastic components to reduce the number of parts that must be replaced during phone refurbishing. Manufacturers also could standardize cell phone design elements, such as adapters, batteries and accessories, to speed refurbishing and allow more parts to be recycled back into manufacturing. Other recommendations include reducing toxic contaminants in parts, simplifying software reprogramming procedures and color-coding batteries to simplify sorting.

The Inform report also makes four suggestions to public policy makers:

Require consumers to make deposits on cell phone purchases. The promise of a refund would provide an incentive to return used phones for reuse and recycling.

Institute landfill bans on cell phones.

Make manufacturers responsible for managing end-of-life cell phones to create incentives for manufacturers to design products that are easier to refurbish and recycle.
Evaluate the effectiveness of such policies by requiring manufacturers, retailers and recyclers to report on the collection, recycling, refurbishment and eventual end-use of old cell phones.
Efforts to keep cell phones out of landfills may not hold huge selling power among consumers. But if the industry continues to develop technology at its current pace, investing in reusable products could be music to the waste industry's ears.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Digital Trash

AMERICANS WILL THROW OUT more than 12 million tons of electronic equipment next year according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., estimates. Without programs to recycle this electronic waste (e-waste), the old computers, televisions, cell phones, and other devices made of plastic, metal, glass and toxic chemicals will begin to choke the nation's landfills.

To prevent this problem, the EPA has conducted several electronics recycling (e-cycling) pilot programs in conjunction with local governments and retailers. The lessons learned from these pilots can aid in establishing permanent e-cycling programs nationwide.

The first EPA pilot tested the effectiveness of curbside collection and drop-off e-waste locations in Mid-Atlantic states between Oct. 1, 2001, and Dec. 30, 2002. Pilot participants included the EPA's Philadelphia office; environmental agencies from several states and the District of Columbia; local solid waste departments; electronics manufacturers; electronic recycling companies; and private waste management companies.

The participants shared the e-cycling program's $1.9 million price tag, with the largest share — $1.4 million — falling on state environmental agencies and local governments. “This was the first time we came up with a system of shared financial responsibilities to pay for, collect and deliver recyclable electronics,” says Claudette Reed, a scientist in the waste and chemicals management division of the EPA's Philadelphia office.

By sharing the burden of managing e-cycling programs, the EPA hopes the cost of hosting such programs will be viewed as reasonable by all groups involved.

According to the pilot's final report, the undertaking also yielded five lessons. First, aggressive advertising is critical to the success of an e-cycling program. In the pilot, local governments targeted advertisements at residents using television, newspapers, Web sites, flyers, posters and utility bill stuffers. During the 15-month pilot, the Delaware Solid Waste Authority alone spent $40,000 on advertising.

The pilot also taught the EPA that residents are generally willing to pay small end-of-life fees in the range of $2 to $5 to help pay for e-cycling.

The EPA also learned that permanent collection programs are more cost-effective than single-day collection events.

Additionally, a pilot program can serve as a catalyst for local governments to create permanent e-cycling programs. For example, the success of the pilot led officials in Lebanon County, Pa., to establish a permanent curbside electronics collection program. In Frederick County, Va., a successful drop-off event has led to plans for a series of e-cycling events.

Finally, the pilot confirmed that a high volume of residential and small-business electronic devices is available for collection and recycling.

Another EPA pilot begun in the Pacific Northwest now is operating nationally, thanks to Del Ray Beach, Fla.-based Office Depot and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) based in Palo Alto, Calif. In this pilot, Office Depot agreed to take back old electronics through its national store network. HP then joined the program to see how it might contribute to current company recycling efforts, which break down old products for reuse.

While results have not yet been reported for this pilot, Katharine Osdoba, product stewardship team leader for the EPA, notes two points of interest. To date, recyclers have not found ways to make e-cycling profitable. If manufacturers can receive the materials directly and reuse them to manufacture new products, the economics may work better, she says. The EPA also is hoping that manufacturers interested in recycled electronic materials will begin working on green product designs to reduce toxic materials and make recycling easier.

In a third pilot, the EPA is exploring whether retailers are practical collection points for e-cycling. The EPA, office product retailer Staples, based in Framingham, Mass., and the nonprofit Product Stewardship Institute operated the program. In this pilot, consumers returned used electronics to Staples, which transported the materials to central warehouses for pickup by recyclers. “Finding ways to move materials to a point where recyclers can pick [them] up in bulk has been a problem,” Osdoba says. “We're waiting for data on the pilot to see whether this approach might work.”

In the meantime, California and Maine have decided not to wait for pilot results and passed legislation governing e-waste. The California legislation mirrors existing state legislation for recycling tires, batteries and other difficult-to-recycle products. In California, consumers purchasing electronics products will pay recycling fees to retailers at the point of purchase. The fees will go to state environmental regulatory agencies, which in turn fund recycling programs and enforcement.

Maine's legislation takes a different tack. It will begin as a traditional state-funded recycling program. However, within a few years, the program will be funded by manufacturers instead of the state. “This is consistent with programs in Europe and Japan,” says Kevin McCarthy, vice president of government affairs with Houston-based Waste Management Inc.

Today, the search for e-waste solutions is just a few years old. It began when the EPA formed the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) in 2001. Members include electronics manufacturers, retailers, recyclers, and state and local governments.

NEPSI aims to develop ways to collect, reuse and recycle used electronics, and to suggest incentives to stimulate source-reduction, reuse, recycle, reduce toxicity and increase recycled content in product design. Additionally, the organization has attempted to discuss financing mechanisms for e-cycling, but this has been a contentious issue.

Nevertheless, NEPSI discussions and pilot programs similar to those conducted by the EPA are characteristic of the development of national regulatory programs, Osdoba says. As groups and pilot programs define options, states will draw on that information to develop legislation. After several states have weighed-in on the issue, the federal government likely will develop national legislation defining minimum e-cycling standards, using the most sensible state programs as a benchmark. With federal legislation in place, states then will be able to enforce or raise the minimum standards to suit their needs, she says.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

E Bay and E Waste

TO KEEP DISCARDED COMPUTERS and other electronic products out of the nation's landfills, San Jose, Calif.-based eBay Inc. and a group of computer, governmental and environmental organizations have launched an e-recycling campaign. Called the Rethink Initiative, the project seeks to promote e-recycling awareness and to facilitate the safe disposal of electronic devices.

The focal point of the campaign is an eBay-run Web site (www.ebay.com/rethink) that educates consumers about e-waste. Consumers can use the site to find an e-recycler located near them and to review a checklist of questions to consider when selecting a recycler.

To prepare computers for recycling, the site provides a program that erases hard-drive data.

The Rethink Initiative also encourages consumers to resell their unwanted electronic devices or donate them to a charity. The program's Web site contains information on how to do both.
The initiative comes at a time when Americans are disposing of electronic devices in significant quantities. While unused electronic devices are often left in garages, closets or storage rooms, roughly 2 million tons of e-waste makes its way into landfills each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington. Electronic devices often contain toxic substances such as lead and mercury, and environmental groups argue that it is dangerous to place them in landfills. Some states, such as California and Maine, have banned cathode ray tubes from landfills.

Chaz Miller, state programs director for the Washington-based Environmental Industry Associations, says there is no evidence that toxic substances leach from e-waste when placed in landfills. Still, he applauds the Rethink Initiative, calling it a “creative attempt” to remove electronics from the waste stream. “It's a great idea,” he says. “Let's see how it works.”
Other members of the Rethink Initiative are Intel Corp., Santa Clara, Calif.; Apple, Cupertino, Calif.; Gateway, Irvine, Calif.; Hewlett-Packard Co. Palo Alto, Calif.; and IBM Corp., White Plains, N.Y. The EPA is a participant as well. A complete list of the members also is available on the project's Web site.

The Rethink Initiative launch is not the only e-recycling news to emerge in recent weeks. The EPA's Plug In to eCycling Program has announced the results of four pilot projects held last year to test the viability of collecting used electronics in retail settings. The EPA provided technical services for the pilots.

In one month-long test, 115,000 pounds of used electronics were collected for recycling by Staples stores throughout New England. Another month-long pilot in the Pacific Northwest captured 197,000 pounds of televisions at Good Guys electronic stores. In a series of day-long collection events in Minnesota and Wisconsin held last summer and fall, 357,500 pounds of electronics were collected, primarily at Best Buy and Target stores. In the fourth project, Office Depot and Hewlett-Packard operated a more-than-two-month program that gathered more than 10.5 million pounds of electronics at Office Depots nationwide.

“The programs were successful,” says Dave Deegan, EPA spokesman. The agency is evaluating the pilot results to help outline future projects, he says.

The EPA also recently awarded eight contracts to small businesses to provide e-recycling and disposal services for federal agencies and buildings throughout the nation. Traditionally, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has handled the disposition of used federal electronics, says Oliver Voss, a service center manager for the EPA's Office of Acquisition Management.
Agencies will still be able to use GSA to get rid of old equipment. However, unlike the GSA, the EPA's contracted firms will provide an audit trail to show where the equipment ends up, Voss says.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

AMERICANS WILL THROW OUT more than 12 million tons of electronic equipment next year according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., estimates. Without programs to recycle this electronic waste (e-waste), the old computers, televisions, cell phones, and other devices made of plastic, metal, glass and toxic chemicals will begin to choke the nation's landfills.

To prevent this problem, the EPA has conducted several electronics recycling (e-cycling) pilot programs in conjunction with local governments and retailers. The lessons learned from these pilots can aid in establishing permanent e-cycling programs nationwide.
The first EPA pilot tested the effectiveness of curbside collection and drop-off e-waste locations in Mid-Atlantic states between Oct. 1, 2001, and Dec. 30, 2002. Pilot participants included the EPA's Philadelphia office; environmental agencies from several states and the District of Columbia; local solid waste departments; electronics manufacturers; electronic recycling companies; and private waste management companies.

The participants shared the e-cycling program's $1.9 million price tag, with the largest share — $1.4 million — falling on state environmental agencies and local governments. “This was the first time we came up with a system of shared financial responsibilities to pay for, collect and deliver recyclable electronics,” says Claudette Reed, a scientist in the waste and chemicals management division of the EPA's Philadelphia office.

By sharing the burden of managing e-cycling programs, the EPA hopes the cost of hosting such programs will be viewed as reasonable by all groups involved.

According to the pilot's final report, the undertaking also yielded five lessons. First, aggressive advertising is critical to the success of an e-cycling program. In the pilot, local governments targeted advertisements at residents using television, newspapers, Web sites, flyers, posters and utility bill stuffers. During the 15-month pilot, the Delaware Solid Waste Authority alone spent $40,000 on advertising.

The pilot also taught the EPA that residents are generally willing to pay small end-of-life fees in the range of $2 to $5 to help pay for e-cycling.

The EPA also learned that permanent collection programs are more cost-effective than single-day collection events.

Additionally, a pilot program can serve as a catalyst for local governments to create permanent e-cycling programs. For example, the success of the pilot led officials in Lebanon County, Pa., to establish a permanent curbside electronics collection program. In Frederick County, Va., a successful drop-off event has led to plans for a series of e-cycling events.
Finally, the pilot confirmed that a high volume of residential and small-business electronic devices is available for collection and recycling.

Another EPA pilot begun in the Pacific Northwest now is operating nationally, thanks to Del Ray Beach, Fla.-based Office Depot and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) based in Palo Alto, Calif. In this pilot, Office Depot agreed to take back old electronics through its national store network. HP then joined the program to see how it might contribute to current company recycling efforts, which break down old products for reuse.

While results have not yet been reported for this pilot, Katharine Osdoba, product stewardship team leader for the EPA, notes two points of interest. To date, recyclers have not found ways to make e-cycling profitable. If manufacturers can receive the materials directly and reuse them to manufacture new products, the economics may work better, she says. The EPA also is hoping that manufacturers interested in recycled electronic materials will begin working on green product designs to reduce toxic materials and make recycling easier.

In a third pilot, the EPA is exploring whether retailers are practical collection points for e-cycling. The EPA, office product retailer Staples, based in Framingham, Mass., and the nonprofit Product Stewardship Institute operated the program. In this pilot, consumers returned used electronics to Staples, which transported the materials to central warehouses for pickup by recyclers. “Finding ways to move materials to a point where recyclers can pick [them] up in bulk has been a problem,” Osdoba says. “We're waiting for data on the pilot to see whether this approach might work.”

In the meantime, California and Maine have decided not to wait for pilot results and passed legislation governing e-waste. The California legislation mirrors existing state legislation for recycling tires, batteries and other difficult-to-recycle products. In California, consumers purchasing electronics products will pay recycling fees to retailers at the point of purchase. The fees will go to state environmental regulatory agencies, which in turn fund recycling programs and enforcement.

Maine's legislation takes a different tack. It will begin as a traditional state-funded recycling program. However, within a few years, the program will be funded by manufacturers instead of the state. “This is consistent with programs in Europe and Japan,” says Kevin McCarthy, vice president of government affairs with Houston-based Waste Management Inc.

Today, the search for e-waste solutions is just a few years old. It began when the EPA formed the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) in 2001. Members include electronics manufacturers, retailers, recyclers, and state and local governments.
NEPSI aims to develop ways to collect, reuse and recycle used electronics, and to suggest incentives to stimulate source-reduction, reuse, recycle, reduce toxicity and increase recycled content in product design. Additionally, the organization has attempted to discuss financing mechanisms for e-cycling, but this has been a contentious issue.

Nevertheless, NEPSI discussions and pilot programs similar to those conducted by the EPA are characteristic of the development of national regulatory programs, Osdoba says. As groups and pilot programs define options, states will draw on that information to develop legislation. After several states have weighed-in on the issue, the federal government likely will develop national legislation defining minimum e-cycling standards, using the most sensible state programs as a benchmark. With federal legislation in place, states then will be able to enforce or raise the minimum standards to suit their needs, she says.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Toll Road in South Orange County

TRESTLES: JUDGEMENT DAY?
Surfrider assesses Governor Schwarzenegger's announced support of toll road

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By: Kyle Moreno
January 17, 2008

California surfers have to be feeling a little anxious. In a six-day swell of beach-threatening decisions, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled plans to close forty-eight state parks, and then turned his gun on Trestles. The Governator issued a letter Tuesday urging the California Coastal Commision to approve the 241-toll road extension, which, if completed, would run through San Onofre State Park.

So, with just two weeks to go before the Coastal Commission's next critical hearing, we had to know where the recent news left the effort to save our world-class break. Surfline sat down with Surfrider's Executive Director Jim Moriarty to assess the new terrain.

SURFLINE: FIRST OF ALL, HOW SURPRISING WAS GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER'S ANNOUNCEMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE 241 TOLL ROAD EXTENSION?JIM MORIARTY: It wasn't so much surprising as it was disappointing. We all expect our elected officials to be protecting our public resources, not destroying them. I find it somewhat ironic that the leading Republican in the state is literally dismantling the legacy of two of his party's most revered icons: Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who both played significant roles in establishing San Onofre State Beach Park.

AFTER THE DECISION, THE GOVERNOR REALEASED A STATEMENT SAYING HE "CONCLUDED THAT THIS PROJECT IS ESSENTIAL TO PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT AND THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR EVERYONE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA."One of the downsides to the recent surge in interest in the environment is that advertisers, companies and politicians have chosen to turn it into hyperbole. In this case it's total, 100% folly. I mean really, how exactly does the Governor plan on "protecting a state park" by endorsing a project that would result in the loss of 60% of it? We're talking about putting a road directly through the fifth most visited park in the state. We're talking about putting a road directly through a watershed habitat that is home to no less than 11 federally endangered and threatened species. I challenge him and anyone to name a single paved road, anywhere on the globe, that did not lead to pollution?

THE TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR AGENCY (TCA) HAS OFFERED TO GIVE CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS A MONETARY INCENTIVE IF THE ROAD IS BUILT. WHAT DOES THAT OFFER ENTAIL?In October of last year, the TCA made the California State Parks Department a mitigation offer of $100 million dollars ostensibly to make state park improvements elsewhere. The California State Parks Department turned the offer down cold. Why? Simple. Because our state parks are not for sale! Can you imagine the precedent this would set? 100 million dollars for the 5th most visited park in the state? What's next - are we going to start selling off sections of Richardson Grove Redwoods or Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve?

This isn't a campaign; preserving the areas we love is our lifestyle.
Surfrider's Executive Director Jim Moriarty

WHAT ROLE MIGHT CALIFORNIA'S BUDGET CRISIS BE PLAYING IN ALL OF THIS?At this point it's hard to say for sure. But in light of the Governor's recent proposal to close 48 state parks and beaches, approve the early release of inmates from state correctional facilities, and raise DMV fees, it sure appears that the Governor is now seeking to sacrifice California's public lands for political objective.

HOW MUCH WEIGHT, REALISTICALLY, DOES THE GOVERNOR'S SUPPORT CARRY IN THE FINAL DECISION?Certainly I don't think there's any way you can marginalize anything the Governor says or does. However, I would encourage people to ask themselves why: ...if the California Coastal Commission's own staff are recommending against the project ...if the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Malibu, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Santa Monica, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Imperial Beach, and Oceanside have all adopted resolutions in support of our state parks and against this project ...if the California State Attorney General's office has filed a lawsuit against the TCA to stop this project ...if, in poll after poll, the majority of residents from around the state and in Orange County indicate that they do not want this project running through a state park--why is the Governor in favor of it?

DOES THE NEWS AFFECT THE DYNAMIC/APPROACH HEADING INTO NEXT MONTH'S PERMIT-DECIDING HEARING? Our strategy hasn't changed because the facts haven't changed. And the fact is that this road will result in irreparable damage to the environment and compromise San Onofre State Beach Park. We are confident that if the California Coastal Commission remains impartial and makes their decision solely based on the facts and research that has been presented to them, they will agree with their staff's own findings and rule that this project is inconsistent with the laws set forth in the California Coastal Act.

AND THE NEXT STEP FOR SURFRIDER IS...Constant pressure, endlessly applied. This isn't a campaign; preserving the areas we love is our lifestyle. To use a surfing analogy, if the Save Trestles campaign were being compared to the WCT, then the upcoming CCC hearing would be the Teahupoo and Tavarua event rolled into one - meaning it's a big milestone. Whoever comes out on top here will have a bit of momentum, but at the end of the day it's still a long road to Hawaii. There are still a lot of permit hearings to go through, etc. Surfrider Foundation is in this to the end, and will be asking people to plug in variously along the way.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS OUR READERS CAN HELP?Obviously our immediate need is to get as many people as we can down to Oceanside on February 6th for the Coastal Commission hearing. It is critical that we make a demonstrative show of opposition, to remind both the Commission members and our elected officials that we are steadfast in our resolve to keep this project out of our state park.Another simple and effective way to support this campaign (as well as our other efforts) is to join Surfrider Foundation as a member. The whole reason that our organization is heard is because we have over 50,000 voices behind us. And each time someone joins Surfrider as a member, our organization just gets that much louder.For more details on the February 6th California Coast

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Digital

There are computers in the Himalayas, the Andes and the Arctic, and hardly a place left on earth to which someone has not brought a laptop or cell phone. High-tech electronics have transformed the world in ways that benefit us all. But in the 40-plus years since commercial semiconductor and computer manufacturing began, we have paid relatively little attention to the environmental and health impacts of producing and disposing of the microchip-powered devices that propel the Information Age. With 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste discarded annually worldwide, some 2 million tons of e-waste — laden with lead and other heavy metals — going to U.S. landfills each year and environmentally risky recycling procedures overseas, the problems have become urgent.

When it can no longer be made to work, computer and other electronic equipment begins its circuitous return journey to smelters, refineries and plastics factories. In the United States, 90 percent of our discarded electronics are placed in landfills to slowly degrade, are liquefied in municipal incinerators or are stored away in basements and closets. In the absence of any federal regulation of e-waste, what we do with our electronic discards currently depends on laws enacted by state and local governments.

In recent years, state legislatures throughout the country have introduced dozens of e-waste bills, and a handful of substantive laws have now been passed. Many more are on the way. The impetus for this flurry of activity comes from several sources — primarily from overseas — that have awakened communities to the liabilities posed by improper disposal of e-waste.
Asked what spurred them to action, a number of government officials I have interviewed cited shocking photographs of e-waste exported to China, India and Africa for primitive recycling. The pictures — many taken by the Basel Action Network for its “Exporting Harm” and “Digital Dumps” documentaries — vividly show the health hazards posed by such practices. They also reveal identification tags linking the equipment to businesses, schools, governments and hospitals in the United States and other countries.

At the same time, the European Union (EU) has enacted legislation that makes electronics recycling mandatory and restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in new electronic s. Given the global nature of the high tech industry, these materials restrictions will effectively become international standards. They're already having an impact in the United States.
For example, Maine, Maryland and, most recently, Washington, have passed state e-waste bills that, like the EU's recycling law, require manufacturers to participate financially in the recycling process. Electronics recycling in the EU and in Japan carries no overt cost to the consumer, also a feature of the Washington law. The EU directive also requires manufacturers to provide materials listings to recyclers, a process in which U.S. electronics manufacturers already are involved.

Meanwhile, manufacturers have started expanding their U.S.-based take-back and recycling programs. In addition, several states — including California, Illinois, Michigan and New York — have restricted the use of substances included in the EU's legislation.

This proliferation of e-waste recycling options and requirements — confusing to consumers, recyclers and manufacturers — may prompt substantive action at the federal level. Furthermore, many changes in the design of high tech electronics to reduce their environmental impacts and health hazards are already underway. If the trend toward manufacturer participation in e-waste recycling continues, so should additional progress toward more ecologically sound products. Solving the problems posed by e-waste will require continued action, involving both consumer and industry responsibility, as well as regulation, both local and global.

Elizabeth Grossman is the Portland, Ore.-based author of High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health, published by Island Press.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Californians against Waste

Dear Supporter,

On Tuesday, February 5th, you will have the chance to make an important decision about the future of California's environment.

Californians Against Waste has been helping California's environment for over thirty years now and we couldn't have been able to do this without help from the environmental leaders in the state legislature. Currently, California's legislative term limits are just about the tightest in the country, and remain a barrier to effective governing, which is why CAW supports Proposition 93. Prop 93 strikes a balance that would still stick legislators with tight term limits, but allow legislators more time in one house, greatly increasing continuity and institutional memory necessary to be effective leaders.

The flaw in our current system is that it keeps legislators from gaining enough experience to be effective and to oversee the implementation of often complex, important legislation, including environmental laws.

Additionally, the current system often requires some of our best legislative allies to run against each other when their Assembly terms expire--after just 6 years. Case in point, CAW Legislators-of-the-Year Lloyd Levine and Fran Pavley have carried several successful recycling bills each during their 6 years in the Assembly. Now they are forced to run against each other for the Senate seat of another termed out CAW legislator-of-the-year: State Senator Sheila Kuehl.
Currently, legislators can serve up to three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate, for a total of 14 years. Prop 93 would reduce the total amount of time a legislator can serve in the Legislature to 12 years, but allow a legislator to serve all 12 years in the Assembly or the Senate. This limit gives legislators time to gain experience, but still maintains a healthy turnover rate to allow for new issues to be brought up. It also helps drastically reduce the political jockeying that dominates Sacramento and help stabilize our system by breaking the cycle of legislators constantly wanting to move up the political ladder.

The Yes on Proposition 93 campaign has produced a video featuring Assemblymember John Laird of Santa Cruz, discussing the impact reforming term limits will have on environmental issues in California. Watch the video.

Other environmental groups support Prop. 93, including the Sierra Club and the CA League of Conservation Voters.

Thanks,Mark Murray

Executive Director

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles

http://www.ewastedisposal.net