Input Improves Salt Lake Olympic Recycling Plans
Serious Concerns Remain Over SLOC's Zero Waste Claim
Despite recent efforts to improve the Salt Lake Olympics Organizing
Committee's (SLOC) Solid Waste Management Plan, recycling professionals
led by the GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) remain concerned
over the SLOC's declaration of a 'zero waste' goal.
"We applaud the Olympics Committee for recognizing the importance
of a zero waste strategy, and for rejecting the original plan to
mix garbage and recyclables at public venues," said Bill Sheehan,
Executive Director of the Athens, GA based GrassRoots Recycling
Network. "But the plan still lacks sufficient detail, resources
and engagement of the public to achieve zero waste," Sheehan
A GRRN representative and other recycling professionals, recycling
businesses leaders and government officials met with SLOC on August
16, 2001 to propose improvements to the Olympics' waste and recycling
systems. This "Recycling Forum" was organized largely
in response to a resolution spearheaded by GRRN and adopted by the
California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA) at CRRA's July annual
meeting. The resolution specifically noted concern with the SLOC's
zero waste claim and recommended ways to improve the Waste Management
"I'm pleased the SLOC provided an opportunity to discuss various
concerns and permit outsiders to make specific recommendations,"
said Richard Anthony, a board member of both CRRA and GRRN. "However,
it is still unclear what the SLOC's level of commitment is to those
recommended changes, and unlikely that they can come close to a
goal of zero waste without adopting the recommendations."
"The Forum's recommendation to use two bins for source separation
rather than their original single bin system that mixed trash and
recyclables is a significant improvement, but lags behind the 'recyclables'
and 'compostables' system employed at the Sydney, Australia, Olympic
Games," Anthony added. "To their credit, however, SLOC
may well lay the foundation for large-scale food waste composting
operations in the Salt Lake City area."
"GRRN will be monitoring implementation of the SLOC's plans,"
Sheehan said. "SLOC's recycling contract sets specific diversion
rates and requires daily reporting. Public accountability is crucial.
At a minimum, SLOC needs to implement the recommendations of the
Forum to move closer to realizing their goal of Zero Waste. GRRN's
involvement in this matter results from the need to hold institutions
accountable when they make zero waste claims, and to properly inform
the public whether those claims have merit."