In last week’s web log I gave vent to my concern for the lack of a standardized and verifiable accounting system on which to determine the fate of materials for which we are responsible, and according to the responses it received, I am not alone in my concern. So isn’t it time we do something about the situation?
This should not present a door-slamming challenge, since I cannot imagine there to be a single jurisdiction responsible for MSW management that doesn’t go to some pains to document its efforts. Rather, the issue is one of consistency in the measurements and then follow-through to validate the ultimate fate of all materials. By this I mean that the responsibility for the final disposition rests with the jurisdiction in which the materials entered the waste arena. Thus, in the case of materials exported as recyclables, their fate as such must be verified. Lacking such verification, they must be considered as having been disposed rather than diverted.
Is not this a proper task for our overseers at the USEPA? After all, it is they who compile all the data on which they base their statistics. It seems to me that a little piece of paper laying out the metrics to be used, along with the required documentation for proof of the ultimate fate of materials accorded a diversion status should handle the situation. It would be nice to include full-cost accounting details as part of the exercise, but first things first.