WELCOME TO REGROUP
Re*Group was formed in Soldotna, Alaska, in 1989 to help get recycling going on the Kenai Peninsula. Since then recycling has become, for many residents, routine business. Because of the early efforts of Re*Group, the Kenai Peninsula Borough's Department of Solid Waste has recorded yearly increases in the amount of materials that are recycled. For more information about Re*Group, phone 283-4547.
Here are some articles from the Re*Group Recorder Newsletter.
1998 Home Show Worm Farm Winner, Tammy Gist.
Re*Group has been participating with GreenStar for the last four years at the annual Kenai Peninsula Home Show. The drawing for the Re*Group Worm Farm is always a favorite for kids and adults alike.
This year's winner, Tammy Gist, is a second grade student at K-Beach Elementary in Soldotna. Tammy 's worm farm was a hit at her school for "show and tell." Next year Tammy will be attending Tustumena Elementary and plans on taking her worms to show to her new classmates there.
Good luck with your worms, Tammy!
RECYCLING IS GARBAGE?
An article this summer in the N.Y. Times Magazine attacking recycling as "America's most wasteful activity" produced a welter of counter attacks from recycling proponents. Green Star joins these other organizations and researchers in disputing the writer's claims. We believe the facts clearly show that a continued emphasis on recycling makes good economic sense.
A complete accounting of this writer's biased, inaccurate, nine-page litany of complaints, and the factual responses to them is beyond the scope of this article; however, if readers would like a detailed analysis prepared by the Environmental Defense Fund, please call the Green Star office.
Some of the main "Anti-Recycling Myths" are summarized below.
Anti-recycling myth #1. Landfills are safe and the land for more of them cheap and abundant:
Recent work to mitigate the hazards of the former Merrill Field Landfill in Anchorage has cost the municipality millions of dollars. Land is a priced commodity which, especially in heavily populated areas, is never "cheap." Land which can be used for landfills also is never abundantly available, even in Alaska. Nobody wants a landfill next door.
Anti-recycling myth #2. Recycling should pay for itself:
Do we expect landfills to "pay for themselves?" Recycling lowers disposal costs. Over the long term, removal of solid wastes for recycling reduces the outlay for disposal and lowers the environmental costs down the line. Recycling has spawned thousands of new businesses experiencing tremendous growth and capital expenditure. As expertise, innovation, and new equipment produce greater profits, even more savings will result.
Anti-recycling myth #3. There are no markets for recyclable materials:
As new recycling businesses go into full production, "gluts" in some materials will dwindle and the prices for recyclables will rise. The volume of scrap materials is growing worldwide. As with all commodities, prices fluctuate over time. When there's an "oil glut" do we stop producing, selling, and using petroleum products?
Anti-recycling myth #4. Recycling doesn't save trees:
Recycling reduces the pressure to turn natural forests into tree farms. Demand for wood and paper is rising, even with recycling. Worldwide demand for paper cannot be met without recycling.
Anti-recycling myth #5. Stringent U.S. regulations ensure that the environmental harms of manufacturing and using products are incorporated into their prices:
Most of the environmental costs of extraction, manufacturing, consumption and disposal of virgin materials are not included in prices.
Anti-recycling myth #6. Laws and regulations compelling packaging changes are hurting business:
The influence of legislation on production is grossly overstated. Most packaging improvements are cost-cutting, safer, and have resulted from consumer demand.
Anti-recycling myth #7. Recycling is max'ed out:
We haven't even gotten close to maximum potential! Especially here on the Kenai, the recycling rate persists at less than 10%, whereas municipalities such as Seattle are approaching 50%. The fact is, that even in enlightened communities, most recyclable materials are thrown away.
Anti-recycling myth #8. Recycling is a time-consuming burden:
If viable recycling and composting programs are in place, consumers will choose to recycle for environmental as well as economic reasons. Many people who recycle actually enjoy it!
Anti-recycling myth #9. Disposable is better than reusable food serviceware:
The author over generalizes the results of an isolated study to make this claim. Most studies have found dramatically different results-reusable serviceware saves money.
Anti-recycling myth #10. Recycled paper is too expensive:
Costs of re-manufactured paper have traditionally been higher than paper from virgin material; however, with new equipment and more markets, this situation is changing rapidly . The cost of recycled-content paper bought in large quantities is now competitive and projections show that in the future the price of new paper will exceed recycled paper
Recycling saves energy, reduces pollution and destruction of wildlife habitat, and provides raw materials for robust and efficient industries. When articles, talk show hosts, and "think tanks" claim to prove otherwise, please consider the source and try to determine their hidden agenda.
Here on the Kenai Peninsula, thanks to the borough solid waste department
and educational organizations like ReGroup and Green Star, we have an excellent
foundation on which to build continued growth in recycling. We hope you
join us in making our local programs even better by countering anti-recycling
propaganda with the facts.
History of Earth Day
Excerpt from a Catalyst Conference speech, University of Illinois, 10/6/90, Former Senator Gaylord Nelson
For years prior to Earth Day it had been troubling to me that the critical matter of the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of our country. The President, the Congress, the economic power structure of the nation, and the press paid almost no attention to this issue, which is of such staggering import to our future. It was clear that until we somehow got this matter into the political arena, until it became a part of the national political dialogue, not much would ever be achieved. The puzzling challenge was to think up some dramatic event that would focus national attention on the environment. Finally, in 1963 an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to get the environment into the political limelight once and for all.
That idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give national visibility to this issue by going on a nationwide conservation tour, spelling out in dramatic language the serious and deteriorating condition of our environment, and proposing a comprehensive agenda to begin addressing the problem. No President had ever made such a tour, and I was satisfied this would finally force the issue onto the nation's political agenda. The President like the idea and began his conservation tour in the fall of 1963. Senators Hubert Humphrey, Gene McCarthy, Joe Clark and I accompanied the President on the first leg of his trip to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin,, and Minnesota. For many reasons the tours didn't achieve what I had hoped for it did not succeed in making the environment a national political issue. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.
While the President's tour was a disappointment, I continued to hope for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea for Earth Day occurred to me in late July 1969, while on a conservation speaking tour out West.
At the time there was a great deal of turmoil on the college campuses over the Vietnam War. Protests, call anti-war teach-ins, were being widely held on campuses across the nation. On a flight from Santa Barbara to the University of California/Berkeley, I read an article on the teach-ins, and it suddenly occurred to me, why not have a nationwide teach-in on the environment? That was the origin of Earth Day.
I returned to Washington in early August, raised the funds to get Earth Day started, and prepared letters to 50 governors and to the mayors of all the major cities explaining the event and requesting that they issue Earth Day Proclamations. I sent an Earth Day article to all of the college newspapers explaining the event and one to Scholastic Magazine, which went to most of our grade and high schools.
In a speech given in Seattle in September, I formally announced that there would be a national environmental teach-in sometime in the spring of 1970. The wire services carried the story nationwide. The response was dramatic. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters and Telephone inquiries poured in from all over the nation. Using my Senate staff, I ran Earth Day activities out of my office. By December, the movement had expanded so rapidly that it became necessary to open an office in Washington to serve as a National Clearinghouse for Earth Day inquiries and activities, at which point I hired Denis Hayes and others to coordinate the effort.
Earth Day achieved what I had hoped for. The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it
would shake the political arena. It was a gamble, but it worked. An estimated twenty million people participated in peaceful demonstrations all across the country. Ten thousand grade schools and high schools, two thousand colleges, and one thousand communities were involved.
In was a truly astonishing grassroots explosion, The people cared and Earth Day became the first opportunity they ever had to join in a nationwide demonstration to send a big message to the politicians - a message to tell them to wake up and do something.
It worked because of the spontaneous, enthusiastic response at the grassroots. Nothing like it had ever happened before. While our organizing on college campuses was very well done, the thousands of events in our schools and communities were self-generated at the local level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize the ten thousand grade schools and high schools and one thousand communities that participated. They simply organized themselves. That was the remarkable thing that became Earth Day.
Don't ever forget, if you want to move the nation to make hard decisions as political issues, the grassroots is the source of power. With it you can do anything - without it, nothing.
If we are going to move the nation to an environmentally sustainable economy, you and that young generation right behind you are going to have to do it - and I think you will.
Earth Day Every Year
Earth Day went for twenty years until Denis Hayes saw both the need and the opportunity to expand the scope of Earth Day internationally. For the 20th anniversary, Earth Day was celebrated by more than 200 million people in 141 countries.
A new organization, the Earth Day Network, has emerged from the seeds that were planted in 1990. The Earth Day Network has been founded by and for the grass roots activists who have taken Earth Day "to heart" in their locales on an annual basis. In 1994 alone, more than one million individuals attended Earth Day events and thousands of volunteers participated in projects in all fifty states.
The mission of the Earth Day Network is to increase awareness, responsibility and action toward a clean, healthy future for all living things using Earth Day as a catalyst. The Network's focus is people. The Network's commitment is environmental.
Affiliated groups of the Earth Day Network include: Earth Day Canada, Earth Day New York, Earth Day Illinois, San Diego Earth Day, Earth Day Northwest, Earth Day Hawaii, EarthWays, St. Louis, Clean Air Council,/Philadelphia Earth Day '95, Earth Day Greater Boston, Stamford Connecticut Earth Day, Earth Day Georgia, EnviroBaldwin, Fairhope, Alabama, Ecology Action/Earth Day Austin Texas, Michiana Earth Day, Earth Day Arizona, Northern Nevada Earth Day/Environmental Leadership, Reno NV, GLOBE Ecology Coalition, Long Beach CA.
In addition to formal affiliates, the Earth Day Network supports and works with other local volunteer groups around the country. Groups receiving support in 1995 have included: Earth Service, Inc., Los Angeles, Our Planet Dallas TX, Friends of Sugar Creek, Crawfordsville, IN, Eco-Kansas City, Community Recycling Center, Champaign IL, New Bedford MA Earth Day, and Citizens for a Better South Florida, Miami.
The Earth Day Network is working with other organizations throughout the U.S. Please inquire about contacts in your area.
Network Affiliate agreements, Sponsorship policies and Earth Day Organizing
Surveys (to list Earth Day activities as part of theannual events list) are available by request.
"If the environment is a fad, then it's going to be our last fad . . .We are building a movement, a movement with a broad base, a movement which transcends political boundaries. It is a movement that values people more than technology, people more than political boundaries, people more than profit." April 22, 1970, Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day and Chair of Earth Day Northwest.
NOW CRIME AND RECYCLING ARE PAYING EVEN MORE!
From NPR, an item about New York City thieves stealing newspapers left out for recycling. With the price nearing $100/ton, green crime now has become profitable!
In fact, the price of recycled newspaper has gone up over 400% since last year. Other recyclables have gone up, too. The prices paid for both cardboard and milk jugs, for example, have risen over 200%; and for other products like glass and white paper 30% to 90%. This is good news for us recyclers because it means the loops are being closed and more people are using recycled products than ever before.
It also means that there is no longer a "glut" of recylcled materials. They need those recyclables now, so help support Re*Group's education programs with your tax-deductable donations. And be sure to show your friends and relatives how easy and fun recycling can be! Remember, Seattle recycles a whooping 48% of their solid waste-we recycle less than 10%. Clearly, there is a lot of room for improvement!
Remember, friends don't let friends not recycle!
Green Star of the Kenai Peninsula