Good Wood Gone Bad
Great article on CCA-treated wood and the myriad of issues surrounding its manufacture, use and disposition. [Waste Age August 2001, page 36]
It's striking how much the United States doesn't know about other countries' activities. For example, on page 42, Ed Repa of National Solid Wastes Management Association states it's unclear how much testing has been done on the amount of CCA that would leach from a landfill after it has been sitting above ground for years.
Countries such as Denmark and Norway have worked on CCA-treated wood issues for years. Denmark has banned its use and Norway is working on it. In a Norwegian fact sheet written by its EPA equivalent states: “In pressure treated wood, approximately 30 percent of CCA leaks out in 20 to 30 years.”
The fact sheet later notes that disposal with organic material increases CCA leaching, though it doesn't list citations.
We should cooperate with our colleagues elsewhere in the world.
Thanks again for the wonderful articles. Our state has just passed legislation that soon may eliminate several CCA-treated wood uses.
John Reindl, Recycling Manager
Dane County, Wis.
Turn Down the Volume
I found your article, “Turn Down the Volume,” most interesting. As a recycling specialist for Lafayette Consolidated Government, La., my job involves presentations to elementary, secondary and high school kids. It always has been my intent to temper the idealism with a dose of reality when delivering the recycling message. I thought your article hit the nail on the head.
Chaz Miller's story, “Aseptic Boxes, Milk Cartons” [Profiles in Garbage, Waste Age August 2001, page 22], was a good summary of the environmental profile of the aseptic carton.
Miller made a number of excellent points, especially his acknowledgement of the aseptic package as an example of source reduction. However, a few statements need clarification.
Currently, 33 million Americans, not 12 million, successfully recycle aseptic packages and gable top cartons through curbside programs. The 12 million number that Miller refers to is the number of households that participate in these programs.
Aseptic cartons in curbside programs are clean and present no difficulties. It is in school recycling programs, not residential curbside recycling, where we have encountered challenges. Problems arise when packaging is emptied. Fluids left in cartons can cause the package to begin decomposing before being recycled. But composting is an adequate solution to address the problems associated with school recycling. Gable top cartons in schools are being successfully composted in states such as California, Michigan, Kansas and Texas.
Aseptic Packaging Council
Historic Fresno Landfill?
Interior Secretary Gale Norton recently nominated the Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill as a National Historic Landmark. The landfill operated from 1935 to 1987 and was the nation's first “true” sanitary landfill. However, the nomination was rescinded because the landfill is a Superfund site. Do you agree with the decision to rescind the nomination?
The site should not be considered a National Historic Landmark because the landfill apparently has leaked. Superfund status usually indicates there is a significant release of leachate. This type of site is not the best selection to represent the solid waste industry. I'm sure there are many other sites worthy of recognition, although it may be difficult to find an old one worth recognizing.
Ron Boyle, Earth Tech Inc.,
Did they take Monticello off the list just because it has lead-based paint and Jefferson had a black slave mistress? The historic designation should continue, Superfund status and all.
F. Patrick Crowley, Montana
Department of Environmental, Quality Permitting and Compliance Division, Helena, Mont.
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