GreenYes Digest V97 #189

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GreenYes Digest Wed, 6 Aug 97 Volume 97 : Issue 189

Today's Topics:
Continuing Dialog Re: How to Spread Zero Waste Message: v. 97 #188
What's New? Nothing. Zero.

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Problems you can't solve otherwise to

Date: Tue, 5 Aug 1997 10:08:01 -0500
From: RecycleWorlds <>
Subject: Continuing Dialog Re: How to Spread Zero Waste Message: v. 97 #188

Roger Guttentag started this dialog asking how to reach new people with =
the Zero Waste message. I replied that we need to determine our goals =
through a careful reasoned analysis, but then shift to figuring out how =
to influence people in their gut, the same way successful advertisers =
do, in order to affect wide spread change.

Dave Reynolds correctly responded that=20

"Sex appeal may work for Crest, but in the environmental arena, an
emotional appeal (i.e., "a message that wrenches their gut") has led=20
to backlash on many occasions."

I certainly agree that this can be true. To get across a message to a =
wider audience in a way that is heard over the din requires =
simplification to work. Industry -- which ironically uses such tactics =
in both its advertising and its lobbying every day (e.g. "EPA's new =
particulate and ozone standard would put ten million workers out of work =
and cost 100 billion dollars")-- then turns around and sanctimoniously =
intones that it is wrong for citizen groups to simplify to get a message =
that people will hear.

Dave then goes on to add:

"My recent experience has revealed that people are more responsive to =
fundamental environmental realities than scare tactics (whether the =
scare tactics are backed up with facts or not)."=20

Here I wish Dave were correct, but my personal experience doesn't =
support his perception. I'm thinking as an issue I have watching of =
so-called state of the art liner based landfill designs. My =
understanding of the facts is that there is no technical basis for =
claiming, as is implied(but never proven) in Subtitle D, that composite =
liners will protect groundwater over the long term. Rather they will =
only last long enough until the financial assurance bonds have expired =
and the prior owners are no longer responsible. The facts are that EPA's =
own original Federal Register notices conceded that liners will leak, =
and that this only changed after political pressures forced the final =
Subtitle D regs to be weakened to not impose too much costs. There are =
several experts who have been attempting to get this issue raised into =
the public dialog using careful technical discussion, but the industry =
has, to this day, gotten away with poo-pooing the concerns -- without =
any technical response, and it has gotten away with this because the =
public at large is unaware of a technical debate. Even many recyclers =
have bought into the unproven Subtitle D claims and are unaware of the =
technical writings of Prof. Robert Ham and Fred Lee.

I'd be interested in other people's experiences where technical issues =
arose in major controversies and where it was either possible to resolve =
in quiet technical negotations or to raise it with the wider public =
through technical dialogs.

To the extent that the reality is that (1) major controversies cannot be =
settled quietly and (2) it is not possible to get the necessary public =
pressure without using gut wrenching simplifications, I think that there =
is way to resolve Dave's and my conflicting thoughts to respond to =
Roger's original question.

That might be with a Mutt and Jeff approach. One group continues =
issuing technical papers and technical discussions with the media and a =
separate group simplifies the issues -- that were previously reached =
rationally -- in order to reach people emotionally. But, I should add, =
both groups only pursue an issue after internally going through a very =
careful, rationale analysis of what the ultimate goal should be. =
Simplification is part of a means that is an undesirable but necessary =
evil, but has nothing to do with determining the goal itself.

Peter Anderson


Date: Tue, 5 Aug 1997 09:17:20 -0700 (PDT)
From: "William P. McGowan" <>
Subject: history

Thanks to Skip for calling me on the carpet for citing Marshall as the
Supreme Court Justice--he is absolutely right about who was not Chief
Justice--the Santa Clara cases were decided in the 1880 and took eveyone
by surpise by ruling that a clause of the Constitution extended for the
protection of slaves could be extended to corporations. Why I should
consult my notes before responding. The case was Santa Clara County v.
Southern pacific Railroad 1886. An excellenet treatment of the why's
behind the arguments supporting the recognition of corporations as
individuals can be found in Martin Sklar's The Corporate Reconbstruction
of American Capitalism,

Bill McGowan

Rincon Recycling
UCSB History


Date: Tue, 05 Aug 1997 19:28:05 -0700
From: Bob Harsell <>
Subject: What's New? Nothing. Zero. wrote:
> The New Bottom Line
> Strategic perspectives on business and environment
> v 6 n 15 July 17, 1997
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------->
What's New? Nothing
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------->
> What's New? Nothing. Or more precisely: Zero.
> The discussion of "zero waste" and "zero emissions" systems is emerging as
> one of the most important concepts in business today.
> To some it's outlandish folly. You can't have perpetual motion machines and
> you can't have zero waste. Yet a growing accretion of forces seem to be
> taking the idea seriously enough. The "Third Annual World Congress on Zero
> Emissions" is taking place this month (July 1997) (this year in Indonesia).
> The Zero Emissions Research Institute (at United Nations University in
> Tokyo) continues its research and training work, much of it focused on
> developing countries. Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, the world's largest
> carpet manufacturer, has publicly committed his billion dollar company to a
> goal of zero emissions, and has challenged his employees to invent
> factories that have "no smokestacks and no sewer pipes." A coalition of US
> recycling professionals has embraced the "zero waste" goal as core to their
> activist agenda. And the provocatively titled book "Factor Four"--exploring
> the feasibility of four-fold efficiency increases using off-the-shelf
> technologies--is being rewritten with a focus on the goal of "factor
> _ten_", the next way station on the road to zero, since "factor four" just
> wasn't seeming challenging enough.
> This space has talked periodically about the notion of zero waste
> industries, which is compelling for both business and ecological reasons.
> >From a business perspective, wastes are products that companies
> "manufacture" that incur costs, yet add no value; prudent management would
> work to eliminate such economically irrational outputs. From an ecological
> perspective, zero waste strategies would bring the human economy into
> closer alignment with the multi-gigayears experience of natural systems,
> where "waste" is a concept without meaning.
> It's partly a question of boundaries. It may never be possible to have a
> zero waste company--any more than a zero waste rabbit--since each and every
> transformation of energy and matter will inevitably yield degraded energy
> and matter. But it may be possible to have a zero waste "ecosystem" of
> companies, just as it is possible--in fact it is so--to have a zero waste
> ecosystem of plant and animal species in which the "waste" outputs of one
> organism become the food of the next. And it is certainly possible to aim a
> company toward that distinctive target, rather than the honorable but
> relatively ho-hum goals of compliance or 10% improvements.
> Those who consider zero emissions an impossible goal tend to forget that
> the planet carrying us around the sun--Spaceship Earth, as Buckminster
> Fuller called it--_is_ a zero waste system, closed to matter and open to
> the flows of [largely solar] energy that power the endless cycles of
> matter. The secret has been hidden forever in plain sight.
> How do we get there? No one knows the definitive answer; at least no one
> has gotten there yet in industrial systems, though one could argue that
> many traditional agricultural systems come close. But we can make some
> observations that might help point the way:
> Essentially there are two main strategies to staunch the flow of
> "Non-Product Output": Stop making it. Turn it into product. How? Here, in
> no particular order, is a collection of strategies.
> Reduce waste: Process efficiency
> Whether through pollution prevention, waste minimization, business process
> re-engineering, design for environment, or any of a dozen other terms and
> approaches, most businesses can discover significant-to-vast opportunities
> to improve production efficiencies--through redesign and re-specification
> of products, processes, and equipment--and produce less waste and use less
> resource per unit of product.
> Waste as feedstock: Internal and external cascades
> Internal cascades include steps as simple as paper or fabric mills cycling
> scraps back into a lesser grade product, or cogeneration systems cascading
> waste heat from electrical generation into lower grade heat requirements,
> such as water heating. Thoughtful design can substantial increase the net
> useful harvest--of energy and materials--from a given resource flow.
> External cascades may start as simple recycling efforts and mature into
> regional waste exchanges, regional industrial clusters with symbiotic
> material and energy needs, and even eco-industrial parks.
> Make it tasty: Shift waste chemistry
> It may not be possible to completely eliminate wastes, but perhaps changes
> in process or materials can produce waste that is more "digestible" by the
> next company down the food chain.
> Break the addiction to "stuff": dematerialize and deproductize
> Though it goes against the economistic tradition of "more stuff means more
> money," the value equation of the future is in fact "produce more value
> with less physical throughput." Redesign products to get more done with
> less stuff--dematerialization (just look at the electronics and
> telecommunications industries if you need inspiration). Redesign business
> transactions to deliver value with less stuff (electric utilities profiting
> from conservation services is just one of many examples).
> Pay attention: measure what matters
> Use business performance metrics to aim toward the right goal; track
> resource efficiency (resource use or waste generation per unit of product),
> and throughput efficiency (the ratio of product to total output, including
> all non-product output).
> Go from ISO to zero
> Environmental management systems (such as those specified by the ISO 14000
> standards) may help your company get where it wants to go, but can't tell
> you where you want to go. ISO certification may improve practices, but is
> an insufficient target for business leadership.
> # # #
> (c) 1997 Gil Friend and Associates. All rights reserved.
> Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate. [970603]
> Archived on the World Wide Web at
> For subscription information, send email to:
> May be cross-posted intact--including this notice--
> via email as long as no fees are charged.
> Publishing--whether on a Web site or in print--
> and commercial distribution in any form
> require our advance permission. Thank you.
> Gil Friend, systems ecologist and business strategist, is president of
> Gil Friend and Associates, a consulting group specializing in strategic
> environmental management, including Integrated EcoAuditing, Industrial
> Ecology and ecological re-engineering.
> *****************************************************************
> * Gil Friend * Tel: 1-510-548-7904 *
> * Gil Friend & Associates * Fax: 1-510-849-2341 *
> * 48 Shattuck Square #103 * Net: *
> * Berkeley CA 94704 * *
> *****************************************************************
> * "Nature's ecosystems have 3.5 billion years experience of *
> * in evolving efficient, complex, adaptive, resilient systems. *
> * Why should companies reinvent the wheel, when the R&D has *
> * already been done?" *
> *****************************************************************Hi Jennie,
What you say about degraded energy and matter is true. However,
just as all life adds to entropy, and entropy is the way of the universe,
our energy source is the sun. We will only be here as long as the sun
shines, even if we solve our problems of overpopulation and
overconsumption. If we can learn to limit our use of energy to no more
than we can gather from sunlight, and control our numbers, then we are
truly "back in the Earth's good graces."
Bob Harsell


End of GreenYes Digest V97 #189