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[GreenYes] Re: throw-away society


Title: [GreenYes] Re: throw-away society

Hello Bill and Helen:

With all due respect to GRRN and its good work, the 1% figure is a 
fantasy, I think.

What is the "total North American materials flow" anyway?  Does it 
include the mountains of imported goods?  Is it all manufacturing 
done in the USA?  Or something else?  The GRRN "factoid" (mutated 
fact?) that you cite on its face is a strange combination of 
vagueness and specificity.  We don't know what is being measured, but 
by golly we're certain it stands at 1% survival after six months of 
use!  What this says to me is that someone is making up crap.

Not that making up crap is always bad.  On my 65th birthday some dear 
friends gave me a card with a license to make up crap, which I had 
been doing for some time anyway as a freelancer.  But even with my 
license I do it in jest, and I always let people know I've done it 
whether it works or not.

Junk science in the service of good goals is still junk science.

Washers, dryers, cars, trucks, silverware, pots and pans, furniture, 
airplanes, linens, clothing:  does total North American materials 
flow include these categories, all of which are churned out and sold 
in massive volumes but are far more durable?

Urban Ore has doors in its inventory that are more than a century 
old.  Of our total inventory of maybe 6,000 doors, the number of 
doors less than six months old might be somewhere between !% and 3%.  
The other 97% is older.  And new doors aren't all inferior to old 
ones.  Some well-built new doors will last longer than a hundred 
years assuming humans are not rejected by the biosphere first.  
Windows are a different story; our inventory might have in it as much 
as 10% that are less than six months old.  Windows have become 
boutique items.

Or go hang out at any refuse transfer station or landfill open to the 
public.  My guess is that the total "product" being dumped as mixed 
waste that is less than six months old might be on the order of  
35%.  Probably half or more is packaging; the products are 
elsewhere.  The other 65% dumped as mixed waste is older, often much 
older.  The stuff that is recycled at that same transfer station or 
landfill is probably newer than the overall flow to landfill, but 
that's a seat-of-the-pants guess.

I believe the citation Helen refers to may be from Annie Leonard in 
her DVD "The Story of Stuff".

Dan Knapp
Urban Ore, Inc., defeating incinerators since 1982 with good science 
and arresting imagery; currently working on landfills


On Sep 25, 2008, at 5:13 PM, Bill Sheehan wrote:

>
> Does this work?:
>
> 1 = Percent of the total North American materials flow that ends up 
> in, and
> is still being used within, products six months after their sale.
>
> Item #4 from the GRRN Zero Waste Briefing Kit, Facts and Figures at
> http://www.grrn.org/zerowaste/kit/briefing/facts1.pdf
>
> Source: Natural Capitalism, p 81
> In Chapter 3, downloadable at http://www.natcap.org/sitepages/
> pid58.php
>
> /Bill Sheehan
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address
> On Behalf
> Of Helen Spiegelman
> Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 7:39 PM
> To: GreenYes@no.address
> Subject: [GreenYes] throw-away society
>
> Hi all ~
>
> Someone recently threw out a factoid about the products we buy ~ 
> something
> to the effect that X percent of the products we use become waste in 
> less
> than X minutes/hours/days....
>
> Anyone remember seeing this?
>
> Helen.
>
>
>
>
> >
>


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