Day 22: Nov. 16th, 2009

March 2, 2010

On November 16th I received the following email from my contact at Waste Management, confirming receipt of our RPET samples:


I received the samples to run through our optical sorting technology.  I will send them out for analysis and be back in touch in a few weeks.

Grooooovy. A few weeks…yikes! The suspense is already killing me!

While I contemplated waiting for “a few weeks” to continue moving forward with our recycling initiative, I sent Robert the following email, inquiring into his opinion about PVC, a thermoplastic that we form.

Hey Robert,

What is your stance on PVC? I know that that is a loaded question, but I run into contradictory information all the time. For instance, below is an article on Dr. Patrick Moore, a Co-founder of Greenpeace, who left the organization because it’s increasingly radical stance on chlorine in all its forms and derivatives. He says that PVC is a good material in specific applications and I can infer that the language on (“PVC is a poison throughout its entire lifecycle”) is extremely reductionistic.  What is your stance on greenpeace? Do you have any contacts there who may be able to provide insight into their harsh stance on PVC, and plastics in general. Moreover, a lot of their experts specialize in the protection of forests from the pulp and paper industries around the world; would they have information on the timber industry that may provide a counter-argument to language like “dino plastic” used by bloggers on

Gosh, I know you’re busy. Please take your time and respond at your earliest convenience. Perhaps we should establish a question quota per week? Ha!

See the article and link below for more info.



Greenpeace Co-founder Praises Benefits of Vinyl Products in New Video

Dr. Patrick Moore, the co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, advises students and professionals to apply critical thinking when investigating the properties of materials, and praises the use of vinyl as a sustainable and safe material in a new video.

This story appears on

For a direct link to the article and video, go to:

After lunch that day I received this email from Robert:


I haven’t forgotten about you…I just had two major issues come at me over the last week or so and haven’t been able to do anything else. Ill try to get something to you next week sometime.

Rats…I then shot back the following email:


No worries my friend; I assumed you were busy. Well, shoot me an email when you get a second—I have so much to tell you!

And to my surprised, a half an hour later I received this from Robert:


I’m still a bit busy but know if I don’t get back to you now, I’ll likely forget forever!  Plus I want to know about the “so much to tell you!”

I know rather little about unfortunately so I can’t comment on the organization.

Regarding PVC, I’m no expert but I do know that it poses health risks at various points in its lifecycle particularly if it’s incinerated.  PVC also has a terrible habit of ruining bales of other material if it’s not caught in the sorting phase (I’ve heard as little as 0.1% PVC is enough to ruin a batch of PET.)  We do have a plastics expert here at the Board, his name is Edgar Rojas.  If you’d like to ask him about PVC you can send him an email at (contact wishes to remain anonymous).

PVC seems to be on the chopping block every legislative session with a bill to ban it every year it seems.  Obviously it’s never been passed, but there is always concern over the material, particularly in food-contact applications.  PVC and PS are the two plastics that come under fire most often for their toxicity and environmental/human health effects.  I don’t know what the results will be once all the science is gathered to find the true full lifecycle effects of these materials in various applications, but from what I see it doesn’t look particularly good. 

Ok…your turn…


Tune in tomorrow to learn more about recycling in America.

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