Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Waste Management
Old Section title: Waste management
New Section title: Toxics and Waste
Section subtitle: Zero waste, reduce, reuse, recycle.
Our position: Greens will shift our nation toward clean production and principles of zero waste.
A waste-free society is essential to public health and the integrity and sustainability of the biosphere. Natural ecosystems are self-sustaining and generate no waste. We humans are a part of these ecosystems, and while we obtain resources from them, we have a responsibility to return only those things that can be re-absorbed without detriment. Waste is not an inevitable part of production and consumption, as it is viewed in the current economic model.
1. Phase out all avoidable production and sale of toxic metals, persistent organic pollutants, persistent bio-accumulative toxins, synthetic petrochemicals, and halogenated chemicals. Replace them with non-toxic alternatives.
2. Make manufacturers responsible for the full life cycle of their products by requiring them to take back used products and packaging for remanufacturing, reuse, or recycling.
3. Support and implement the precautionary principle: "When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof. The process of applying the precautionary principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action."
3. Strengthen right-to-know laws so that everyone can discover what toxic or potentially toxic chemicals are used and released in their communities, and in products that they might purchase or use.
4. Hold corporations strictly liable for the consequences of the pollution they produce. We support the Citizens’ Platform on Superfund, as adopted at the 1995 Communities At Risk Superfund Summit in Washington, DC (ccaej.org/projects/platform.htm). End the use of incineration as a cleanup technology, and ensure that “cleanups” don’t simply relocate toxins to chemical waste dumps in poor communities of color.
5. Shut down existing waste incinerators, impose a moratorium on new waste incinerators, and phase out landfills. For all possible waste streams, we support the following strategies (in order of priority) as alternatives to incineration and landfills:
(a) Toxics use reduction;
(b) Source reduction, reuse, clean recycling or composting/digestion; or,
(c) Neutralization, sterilization or detoxification methods where applicable.
6. Do not deregulate wastes containing toxic or radioactive contaminants significantly above background levels. They should not be allowed to be used in “beneficial use” schemes as fertilizer, “co-products,” or fuels; or by “recycling” them into consumer products (including construction materials) or disposing of them as municipal waste.
7. Do not export, under any circumstances, chemicals that are prohibited in the United States. We oppose shipping of toxic, hazardous, or radioactive wastes across national borders, and the shipment of such wastes without strict regulation across any political borders. Waste should not be considered a tradeable commodity under the Interstate Commerce Clause.
8. Safe, secure, above ground storage for existing nuclear waste. We oppose exporting nuclear waste to other nations.
9. Strict regulation of radioactive materials and wastes and prohibiting such wastes to be recycled into consumer products and to enter municipal waste landfills and incinerators.
10. Close, clean up and remediate at national labs devoted to nuclear energy and weapons development and operations at the Department of Energy's nuclear production sites.
11. Clean up depleted uranium contamination from testing ranges and battlefields, and provide generously compensate veterans and civilians who have been sickened by depleted uranium exposure.
12. Require independent, transparent radiation monitoring at all nuclear facilities.
13. Substitute chemical safety testing on animals with alternatives that do not use animals, wherever such alternative tests or testing strategies are available.
2004 PLATFORM SECTION ON WASTE MANAGEMENT
The Green Party advocates a shift away from the wasteful use of materials and towards an industrial system based on clean production and principles of zero waste.
1. We support toxics-use reduction and green chemistry to reduce the amounts of toxic chemicals in production processes, and to replace them with less- or non-toxic alternatives. we call for the phasing out of toxic metals, persistent organic pollutants, persistent bio-accumulative toxins, synthetic petrochemicals, and all avoidable uses of halogenated chemicals.
2. We support clean production methods so that products are designed to be durable, repairable, reusable, recyclable, and energy-efficient, using non-toxic, sustainably-obtained materials, and nonpolluting production methods.
3. We support making manufacturers responsible for the full life cycle of their products by taking back used packaging and products for remanufacturing, reuse, or recycling. The electronics industry in particular must redesign its products to eliminate toxic components and enable clean recycling. We support the Principles of Extended Producer Responsibility (www.grrn.org/epr/epr_principles.html), as outlined by the EPR Working Group of the Grassroots Recycling Network. Policies to assist this transition include bans, recycled content standards, and economic incentives such as taxation, special fees, and deposits.
4. The precautionary principle should be applied when introducing a technology (chemicals, industrial facilities, products, etc.) raises the threat of harm to human health or the environment. In such cases, needs assessments and alternatives assessments must be conducted with full public participation. Affected communities must hold decision-making power over technology deployment.
5. The public has a right to know what toxic or potentially toxic chemicals are used and released in their communities, and in products that they might purchase or use.
6. Corporations should be held strictly liable for the consequences of the pollution they produce. We support the Citizens’ Platform on Superfund, as adopted at the 1995 Communities At Risk Superfund Summit in Washington, DC (www.ccaej.org/projects/platform.htm). We call on the EPA to end the use of incineration as a cleanup technology, and to ensure that “cleanups” don’t simply relocate the toxic mess to chemical waste dumps in poor communities of color.
7. We support the Principles of Environmental Justice as outlined by the 1991 National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit (www.ejnet.org/ej/platform.html).
8. We call for the shut-down of existing waste incinerators, a moratorium on new waste incinerators, and a phase-out of landfills. For all possible waste streams, we support the following strategies (in order of priority) as alternatives to incineration and landfills:
Toxics use reduction
Source reduction, reuse, clean recycling or composting / digestion
Neutralization / sterilization / detoxification methods where applicable
9. No wastes containing toxic or radioactive contaminants should be deregulated, which allows them to be used in “beneficial use” schemes as fertilizer, co-products, or fuels; or by recycling them into consumer products or disposing them as municipal waste.
10. We oppose the exportation, under any circumstances, of chemicals that are prohibited in the United States. We oppose shipping of toxic, hazardous, or radioactive wastes across national borders, and the shipment of such wastes without strict regulation across any political borders. Waste should not be considered a tradable commodity under the Interstate Commerce Clause.
11. Nature uses and reuses everything through continual recycling. We should pattern our use of resources after nature in sustainable cycles. The Green Party would:
Create a market for recycled goods through legal and tax incentives.
Institute convenient curbside recycling (including yard clippings) in all urban areas.
Manufacture recycled paper, labeled as such, out of a specific percentage of post-consumer waste paper.
Rapidly phase out composites and other materials that cannot be recycled.
Educate our children on the benefits of recycling.
Simplify procedures that let people choose not to receive junk mail.
Legislate deposits on glass, metal, and plastic beverage containers.
Legislate limitations in packaging and impose penalties for wasteful packaging.
Legislate in favor of recycling used tires, and against burning of tires (tire-derived fuels) in manufacturing.
Remove obstacles to the sale of items in bulk, and standardize containers to make their reuse easier.
Restructure garbage rates to encourage reduction in the volume of waste.
Design and produce high quality goods that are durable, repairable and, then, recyclable at the end of their useful life; this concept is the opposite of the current planned obsolescence.