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Christopher Shum
Professor Romney
Writing 39C
18 August 2013
Rhetorical Knowledge
Respond to the needs of different audiences:
My advocacy essay attempts to not only fix the environmental problems Recology will start
causing starting 2016 due to the new landfill plans, but it also provides citizens of San Francisco
with reassurance that their waste management company is trustworthy.
Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing
Integrate their own ideas with those of others:
The historical analysis chart allowed me to present the whistleblower case and the fact that in
2000 San Francisco did not achieve the 50% waste diversion goal as solid evidence that even
though Recology is not proven guilty, many events do tell a tale in factual data.

“Brian McVeigh’s point on false recyclables
readings show a correlation with the graph
when looking at the start of the zero waste
goal from 2002 until 2008, the termination
of Brian McVeigh’s employment.”
“Other events are shown from 2001 to 2002
when Recology was reaching the extended
deadline to reach 50 percent waste reduction
by 2002, there was a sudden sharp upward
slope of total and diverted waste until the
goal was reached. A year later, somehow there was a sudden drop as if the company made the
recyclables disappear.”
Understand writing as an open process that permits writers to use later invention and rethinking
to revise their work:
Historical analysis was rewritten from an accusation, to an large degree objective view. This
allowed me to discover more than I would have though my previous small view of Recology
being the apex of evil.
Composing in Electronic Environments
Online class, means everything is online, so the example is all the stuff we did all summer long!
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A Solution from the Other Side
San Francisco is nearing its goal to become a zero waste city, and plans to stay on course
until the deadline in 2020. Such an amazing effort up until now was accomplished with the
collaboration of the local waste monopoly Recology and the city government. After San
Francisco’s first failure to attain a 50% diversion of waste by 2000, by 2002 San Francisco was
motivated and finally surpassed the 50% waste reduction rate mandated by state law. The city’s
effort to diverge waste became positive feedback leading to a zero waste policy stating that by
2020 the city should not use landfills or incinerate any of its refuse (CalRecycle). Since then San
Francisco has put into play a plethora of ordinances including a mandatory recycling and
composting ordinance mandating that all citizens of San Francisco must recycle and compost all
waste produced from their household (Bryant).
As the city nears its zero waste objective, the company managing the waste, Recology is
running out of solutions to continue. The reduction of waste to the landfill is no longer
sustainable because of the influx of total waste and unrecyclable waste is not under their control.
The strain the company exhibits presents itself when Recology supported legislation to have
unrestricted dumping to landfill and the purchasing of a new landfill that has a contract beyond
the 2020 date of zero waste initiative due date (San Francisco Board). Such actions increase
pollution in the area because the farther the trucks have to travel to dump waste, the more
greenhouse gasses are produced. The company also affirmed plans with the city council to
charge residence composting and recycling fees in order to fund the recycling and composting
plants, when previously they were able to run both plants without the extra fees the past decade.
And a previously employee accused the company of money laundering. Such actions show the
abuse of the power of monopoly, and without a free market Recology may do whatever it pleases.
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Not only that, world leaders who visited the city only a couple years ago would start
implementing San Francisco’s waste architecture (Mayor Newsom). Implementing the same
ordinances, would eventually give rise to Recology equivalents. If such companies arose,
environmental and economic problems would rise in places all around the world.
An act in Germany called, “Verordnung über die Vermeidung und Verwertung von
Verpackungsabfällen which translates to Ordinance on the Avoidance and Recovery of
Packaging Waste provides a policy that mandates, “The distributor shall be obliged to accept free
of charge used and emptied sales packaging returned by the final consumer at or in the
immediate vicinity of the place of actual transfer” (Germany 8). This dictates the primary
producer of a product no matter a third party store such as a supermarket, or the direct store such
as an apple store, must be responsible to obtain the packaging from the consumer. Then they
must properly recycle the material at the expense of the producers cost. This ordinance can
provide has the possibility to create great opportunities for San Francisco. It can reduce the
amount of waste at waste production while not putting all of the pressure on Recology the back
end, sorting of waste. It also allows a new set of eyes since 1932, the private sector, to pay
attention to the company so if any of the underhanded deeds Recology is accused of doing are
factual, the company would have to work honestly to continue keeping the trust of the citizens of
San Francisco and the government.
The Ordinance on the Avoidance and Recovery of Packaging Waste started in Germany
on June 1991 when the government was not able to convince the public to voluntarily recycle
and compost (Environment). From its face value, the main point of this ordinance is to follow
the Polluters Pay Principle, “The polluter-pays principle is the principle according to which the
polluter should bear the cost of measures to reduce pollution according to the extent of either the
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damage done to society or the exceeding of an acceptable level (standard) of
pollution”(Environment). Due to San Francisco’s unique situation where the last 20% of the
waste going to landfill is mostly from the increasing amount of waste, and unrecyclable waste,
implementing this ordinance would allow for more benefits than what was intended for the
ordinance in Germany. Once the ordinance came into effect, not only are the producers
responsible for the disposal of the material they package, the package itself must constitute of a
certain percentage of recyclable material (Germany 8). This allows the immense reduction of
permanent waste which is making up a large portion of what is the last of San Francisco’s waste.
But not only that the ordinance also mandates that “Packaging shall be manufactured and
distributed such that pack volume and weight are reduced to the minimum commensurate with
maintaining the necessary safety and hygiene of the packaged product and ensuring that it is
acceptable to the consumer”(Germany 14). This will force companies to spend their own money
to come up with the most efficient way to store their product. An example would be with
Germany’s auto industry, an EPA report made in 1994 states, “Thinking has changed
dramatically, and companies are taking a new look at how they can optimize their use of
materials for the long term.”(Fishbein 94). This was conclusion of a section of the report after
going over a list of companies and what they had to do in order to accommodate for German’s
packaging ordinance, even Apple complied with the policy and took back their devices which is
the only place in the world which one can return their product. With such efficiency,
implementing the ordinance in San Francisco would have a similar effect as Germany had with
reducing influx of waste. But a large question comes into mind when considering this ordinance.
How would a company keep track of every single package they produce and manage to collect
and recycle the material themselves?
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The company called DSD short for Duales System Deutschland has a monopoly over
Germany’s waste management much like Recology has a monopoly over San Francisco’s waste.
Coincidently DSD became a monopoly as a result from an ordinance much like Recology, but
not for the same reasons. DSD plays an integral part of the whole German packaging ordinance
solution. The only reason it exists is “In order to liberate industrial firms and retailers from their
individual take-back and recovery obligations under the German Packaging Ordinance” (Portrait).
This solves a lot of manufacture’s problems, all they need is to pay a certain amount for DSD to
take over all packaging management duties while the company can go on with its business. The
formation of monopolies seem to solve problems from both San Francisco’s and Germany’s case.
But many problems did arise and was confronted, unlike San Francisco, Germany began aiming
for zero waste a decade before San Francisco. Time allowed faults of this monopoly to unveil
itself for journals and case studies.
In only two years, DSD already started having money problems due to a number of
companies being delinquent in paying the fees for recycling, and many companies sneaking their
packaging to DSD without being certified under the company. An nonprofit environmental
organization, Inform Inc reports the company was in debt and the government had to help out,
“in September 1993, a plan to save DSD that included converting DSD's $384 million debt to
loans and assuring payment of green dot fees”(Inform). Though this may be a problem that
Germany faced, San Francisco is the monopoly that already collects the city’s trash and owns all
of its recycling and composting facilities. If the ordinance was implemented, companies will pay
Recology to pick up the same trash that was already paid for the processing by the consumer.
This increase in revenue may fund more projects that Recology could not afford before
furthering the progress of the zero waste initiative. This also provides a two pronged approach to
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responsibility on waste management. If the proposed ordinance were to be in effect the
producers and consumers will be both trying to save resources leading to an even more effect
waste redirection to which Recology will not have to try as hard to find methods to extract the
last bits of recyclable material.

Figure 1. Waste Management Funding Mechanisms and Incentives, Fishbein, Bette K. Germany,
Garbage, and the Green Dot: Challenging a Throwaway Society. Rep. Cincinnati:
Environmental Protection Agency, 1993. Print.

Above is a table of how the ordinance will allow for two Source Reduction and Recycling
Incentives. Rather than having only individuals or the industry have incentives to recycle, using
the two funding mechanism, will result in a large recycling rate that would reach zero waste. But
this solution seems expensive to the consumer, not only does the consumer have to take the cost
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directly to Recology, they also have to pay in inflated products to pay for the company’s disposal
of products. But there is a reason to the solution after the alternative solution, Recology is
currently proposing is explained.
Currently Recology plans to solve the problem of unrecyclable waste though new
research, “Products not designed to be recyclable or compostable make it difficult to eliminate
trash bins and go to a two stream system at many locations. So SF Environment and Recology
are researching and developing low temperature, mechanical/biological separation and enhanced
processing such as anaerobic digestion.”(Bryant) This is an article from Recologymedia was
written by a group of authors that work in the governmental department of environment in San
Francisco. Their influence in Recology and the government is great where they are part of the
board that decides on the new price rates for consumers that Recology can charge. The project
the board proposed is so expensive, they need funds to support their research. The company and
the San Francisco’s local government decided to start charging for recycling and composting and
charge even more on the landfill bin.
The alternative solution provides complications. Is it really feasible and cost efficient to
create a method to make permanent waste reusable? This is the solution to the world’s problem
of non-recyclable items, and Recology is planning to solve and implement the solution in 2020.
The main fault of the alternative solution, is the money providing the funding for the research.
According to Recology’s main website, “San Francisco’s zero waste program is funded solely
from revenue generated through refuse rates charged to customers. This revenue generated
sustains material collection, processing, disposal, all outreach and marketing materials, as well as
some programs within the Department of the Environment and the Department of Public
Works”(Recology). Currently it is free to compost and recycle, only the landfill bin contains all
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of the costs of running the recycling facilities and transport of waste. But with the new proposal
researching how to recycle unrecyclable material, Recology is putting a price for the first time on
compost and recycling bins. It will be “a $5 base charge per dwelling unit, $25.08 for a 32-
gallon trash bin, $2 for a 32-gallon recycling bin, and $2 for a 32-gallon composting
bin”(Recology). Though it cannot be concluded that the effect of charging on composting and
recycling will reduce rates, and the insignificance of the charge in comparison provides more
proof that customers will still try to recycle or compost, the research is ironic. The company is
researching on how to get every bit of unrecyclable waste, aka landfill waste into recyclable
items meaning they will eventually get rid of the landfill waste, the largest component of money
income the company runs on. This means eventually the company will have to charge for
composting and recycling. Unlike Recology, if the solution proposed similar to Germany’s
packaging ordinance were to be put into play, then not only may the company find new sources
of income so they would be able to run the waste management company without charging
recycling or composting, but it also still keeps the customers motivation to keep recycling and
composting because it is free. And because the ordinance mandates that “Packaging shall be
manufactured and distributed such that it may be reused or recovered and the environmental
impacts arising from the recovery or disposal of packaging waste are minimized”(Germany 13)
so that there is no need for the company to pour money into researching a method of recycling
unrecyclable items rather there will be no unrecyclable item produced.
Due to the unique situation that San Francisco is in, reducing its waste down to the final
20% leaves the rest mostly consisting of permanent waste and influx of new waste from
manufacturers, it is best to follow the packaging ordinance of Germany in order to not only
reduce new influx of waste and permanent waste from manufacturers, but also provide from the
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business to even allow for the alternative solution to be funded finding a way to make even
permanent waste recyclable. Such a project would no longer require Recology to expand to a
new landfill center or support unrestrained dumping reassuring the citizens of San Francisco that
they are truly going to be the first city in the world to attain zero waste.

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Works Cited
Bryant, Julie, Kevin Drew, Robert Haley, and Jack Macy. "The Story of Zero Waste."Resource
Recycling [Portland] Aug. 2011: 26-28. Recology Media. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Web.
Environment Policy Committee. "Extended Producer Responsibility Phase 2 Case Study On The
German Packaging Ordinance." Group on Pollution Prevention and Control. N.p.: n.p.,
1998. N. pag. OECD. Web.
Fishbein, Bette K. Germany, Garbage, and the Green Dot: Challenging a Throwaway Society.
Rep. Cincinnati: Environmental Protection Agency, 1993. Print.
Germany. Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear
Saftey. Ordinance on the Avoidance and Recovery of Packaging Wastes. N.p.: n.p.,
n.d. Clean Production Action. Web. 16 Aug. 2013.
Mayor Newsom Announces San Francisco's Waste Diversion Rate At 77 Percent. Perf.
Mayor Newsom. Youtube. Youtube, 30 Aug. 2010. Web.
" Portrait - Der Grüne Punkt." Duales System Deutschland GmbH - Der Grüne Punkt. N.p., n.d.
Web. 1 Sept. 2013. <
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"Recology - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Recology - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. N.p., n.d. Web. 21
Aug. 2013. <>.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors (2011). Landfill Disposal and Facilitation Agreements –
Recology San Francisco.