Zero Waste and Economic Development in the 21st Century: A Speaking Tour


CONTACT: Rebecca Toews 612-808-0689 –

Zero Waste and Economic Development in the 21st Century: A Speaking Tour by Urban Ore Principals Dr. Dan Knapp and Mary Lou Van Deventer

WASHINGTON, DC– Contentious plans to build garbage incinerators in the DC metro area are not the only way to deal with trash.

That’s the message two national experts are bringing to Prince George’s and Carroll County leaders this week.  Presentations will be made in Prince George’s County, MD, Washington, DC and Stafford County, VA, where approaches to solid waste management are being hotly debated.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) welcomes Dr. Dan Knapp and Mary Lou Van Deventer of Urban Ore to the DC Metro area from June 10-13 to discuss alternatives to incineration; including transfer station design and implementation of composting and reuse facilities. The two have led the fight for more than 35 years to keep garbage incineration out of the communities all over the United States and present plans for economic development alternatives.

“City and county planners need to know that there are state-of-the-art recycling and compost developments,” says Neil Seldman, co-founder of ILSR. “Citizens can press local governments to pursue ways to increase recyclable and compost collection. Dr. Knapp and Ms. Van Deventer offer information that supports citizens in their fight.”

The tour is part of a yearlong series of events celebrating ILSR’s 40th anniversary.  Both ILSR and Urban Ore understand that recycling is as much an economic development issue as an environmental one. In its 40-year history, ILSR has found that linking reuse and recycling within community development programs sustains 10 times more jobs than landfilling and incineration. (Recycling Means Business!)

WHO: Dr. Dan Knapp and Mary Lou Van Deventer of Urban Ore
WHAT: Speaking tour to discuss alternatives to incineration

  • Tuesday June 10 – 2:30 PM DC Environmental Network 100 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC  20005  11th Floor
  • Wednesday June 11 – 7 PM Visitors Center at Mason Neck State Park, 7301 High Point Road, Lorton, VA 22079
  • Thursday June 12 –  11:30 AM Prince George’s County, Department of Environmental Resources, 1801 McCormick Road, largo, MD, 5th Floor.
  • Thursday June 12 – 7 PM City Hall in College Park, MD
  • Friday June 13 – 6 PM St. George’s Episcopal Church, 905 Princess Anne Street, Fredericksburg, VA 22401

WHY YOU SHOULD COVER THIS EVENT: Planners in five locations are considering incineration plans in order to deal with outdated facilities. These incinerators are shown to be detrimental to the environment, and are not the most effective way to deal with garbage. Urban Ore and ILSR are working together to raise awareness for alternatives to these proposals that will also spark economic development.


We believe we make better and more informed policies when     those who design those policies are those who feel their impact.

ILSR works with citizens, activists, policymakers and entrepreneurs to provide them with innovative strategies and working models that support environmentally sound and equitable economic policies and community development. Since 1974, ILSR has championed local self-reliance, a strategy that underscores the need for humanly scaled institutions and economies and the widest possible distribution of ownership.


Urban Ore is a re-use and recycling enterprise based in Berkeley, CA, that traces its origins to the old Berkeley dump. It is a private business with a track record of community service that dates back to its origins.  It provides quality used building materials, household furnishings, books, art clothing and other merchandise through retail sales to the public. More than 300 planned garbage incinerators were defeated by grassroots campaigns inspired by the work of Urban Ore.


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