farr committeescongress titlefarr address
April 21, 2000


Dear Colleague:

Attached is a report from the GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) that I would like to share with you. This reports points up why recycling has become such an important part of our national environmental psyche. As a regular part of our daily life, recycling is an easy way to preserve, conserve and sustain our natural resources. The effort is very little investment for very big returns.

For example: paper recycled by Americans since 1990 saved more than 3 billion trees, the equivalent of a forest 16 times the size of Yosemite National Park. See what a difference just putting a piece of paper into a recycle basket makes?

This report provides a comprehensive review of progress in recycling and environmental impacts of wasting resources, and presents a strategy for eliminating waste. It is an easy-to-read book with practical suggestions for us as policy makers to consider.

One thing the report does make strongly is the economic consequences of recycling - or not. On the positive side the student shows that recycling creates sustainable jobs and businesses. A survey by ten northeastern states found that industries manufacturing with recycled materials employ 103,413 people in the region. North Carolina recycling industries employ over 8,700 persons. California will create 45,000 recycling jobs when it reaches its goal of 50 percent waste reduction and recycling.

On the negative side, however, the story is still rather grim: America's garbage bill is $43.5 billion annually, more than the GNP of Ireland or Egypt. The cost of wasting to future generations will be many times greater if we don't curb waste more efficiently.

GRRN's report shows that keys to successful waste reduction and recycling are setting public policy goals, backed by mandates or incentives like beverage container deposits, and creating incentives for market-based solutions. This public-private partnership paradigm is something I think we as policy makers should adopt and consider when writing new laws. It's an easy investment that enables us to make good on the environment.

I hope you will read this report and keep it handy. If you need further information about this issue, please feel free to contact me or Rochelle Dornatt of my staff at 5-2861.

sincerely sam farr

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