Pollution Prevention Northwest Newsletter
Published by the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center
Spring 2001


earth

This solar powered production system uses advanced design techniques, optimizes resource use, provides high-value services, and reuses discards.

Product Stewardship: Tell Me More
Product stewardship means reducing a product's environmental "footprint" throughout its life cycle. In the second of two newsletters on this topic, we examine five product stewardship strategies.

Life Cycle Assessment
Know all the costs, including those "hidden" risks and opportunities.

Design for Environment
Design is the key leverage point for reducing environmental impacts. A designer once said "all the really important mistakes are made on the first day."

Green Purchasing
Buying environmentally preferred products can reduce risks and catalyze innovation.

Servicizing
Earning more by selling less

Takeback
Taking back discards can be a value-added service and a source of cheap raw materials.

 
CONTENTS:
dot Assessing Costs & Benefits Across the Life Cycle
dot Green By Design
dot Green Purchasing: Getting Buy-In
dot Servicizing: Earning More By Selling Less
dot Takeback: Creating Reverse Supply Chains
dot Meet Our Staff
dot P2 Digest
dot About this Newsletter
THE FULL PICTURE: Assessing Costs and Benefits Across the Life Cycle

        How much does a product cost? There is more to costs than just the initial price tag.
        Products, like people and other living things, have life cycles. Life cycle assessment is a tool used to identify opportunities for reducing a product's costs and environmental impacts across its life cycle. Measuring the costs and impacts of products is a necessary step for finding effective ways to reduce them through design and product stewardship tools such as green purchasing, servicizing and takeback. Life-cycle assessment also is a necessary component of ISO-certified environmental management systems.
        A strength of life-cycle assessment is that it can take into account many product attributes: energy intensity, toxicity, recycled content, and source of raw materials, yielding a broader picture.
        Life-cycle assessment will spotlight cost reduction opportunities that aren't revealed by looking only at first costs. Here's a simple example. In assessing costs of medical instruments containing mercury, Kaiser Permanente took into account life cycle environmental costs such as purchasing spill control kits, hazardous waste disposal, and treating potential mercury exposure. Kaiser estimates it will avoid $550,000 in costs over 10 years by replacing mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers with, respectively, digital and aneroid units. Aneroid sphygmomanometers are priced higher than mercury blood pressure measuring devices, but when life cycle costs were taken into account, the total costs of aneroid devices were only a third those of mercury devices.
        For life-cycle assessment to be useful, costs and impacts must be measured to the extent possible. One challenge to life-cycle assessment is defining the task's boundaries. Nike has focused its life-cycle assessment on measuring energy and raw materials impacts. Energy is critical, because it is embedded in design, manufacturing, transportation, and use.
        Sony has developed a tool to assess the life-cycle cost-effectiveness of manufacturing electronic products for easy disassembly. The tool informs decisions at the design stage, where make-or-break decisions influencing environmental impacts are made. end

DESIGN RESOURCES

Total Cost Assessment Notes
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/
biblio/0004008.html

Environmental Accounting Project
http://www.epa.gov/
opptintr/acctg

Battelle Life Cycle Management
http://www.battelle.org/
environment/technology/
lifecycle.stm

BEES building assessment tool
http://www.bfrl.nist.gov/
oae/software/bees.html

LCA Questionnaire
http://www.sustainable
products.com/
lca_questionnare.html


Green By Design
        A group of schoolchildren visited a furniture factory in Michigan. Before their tour, the children's teacher asked them to draw a picture of a factory. The typical "before" picture was a Dickensian nightmare of stacks belching clouds of black smoke, ugly buildings, and a forbidding chain-link fence. After their visit, the children were asked to draw a factory again. A typical "after" picture was an airy space filled with smiling people and stuffed animals.
        Why the dramatic change? It all came down to design. Take any product - a building or an electronic gadget, for example. For good or ill, all its characteristics and many of its future impacts will be locked in by design choices.
        In the case of the Herman Miller furniture factory, architect and industrial designer William McDonough set out to design a facility that would both improve Herman Miller's business performance and minimize its environmental impacts. The 295,000-square-foot facility has delivered on both fronts. The interior layout, filled with daylight, green plants, and fresh air, encourages employee collaboration. Employee productivity is up, energy and water bills are down. (Find out more at http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/light/
conserve/sustainability/csexpls.pdf
.)
        Green design takes its cues from nature. In the natural world, finely tuned, interacting systems govern circular flows of solar energy and life-friendly materials, using and reusing them. "Designs" of plant and animal species have evolved in ecological contexts to make optimal, efficient use of energy and materials.
        King Street Center was designed to be a healthy resource-efficient buildingIntegration of design elements is key, wrote Paul Hawken, Amory and Hunter Lovins in their 1999 book "Natural Capitalism." "A pelican, nearing perfection (for now) after some 90 million years of development, is not a compromise between a seagull and a crow. It is the best possible pelican."
        So what do pelicans have to with improving the design of a building or manufacturing a consumer product? Integrated approaches to design can result in products, which use resources more efficiently, last longer, and create new market niches. Barriers include up-front costs and resistance to change among suppliers and customers.
        Good design is a prerequisite for making servicizing and takeback strategies for product stewardship workable. Xerox, for example, provides document management services by leasing copiers, retaining ownership, and taking back equipment. Through design changes, such as reducing number of parts, Xerox made it easier to take machines apart for remanufacturing.
        Two other examples are below:
        BUILDING - Sonoji Sakai Intermediate School on Bainbridge Island, Wash., was designed around three goals that complement its educational mission: minimal impacts on the surrounding ecosystem, high indoor air quality, and resource efficiency. The goals had the full support of the school board and the school district's capital projects director, who coordinated a planning team that worked with school staff and the surrounding community. Building features include ponds that filter stormwater, planting of native vegetation around the ponds, a no-pesticide rule for grounds maintenance, and low- or non-toxic building materials and furnishings. To find out more about this project, visit http://www.pprc.org/pprc/
pubs/topics/schools/doit.html#sakai
.
        MANUFACTURING - At Intel, environmental, health and safety staff are integrated into product, process and facility design teams. Environmental performance criteria are set seven to 10 years ahead.
        When Intel began producing the Pentium III processor in 1999, environmental performance standards were wired into the production process.
        Intel also formed a "product ecology" team to evaluate improvements that improve chipsets' energy efficiency and computer systems designed for disassembly. For example, a server design was developed with a foam matrix that reduces the number of fasteners needed. end

A Quiz By Design

What does "design for disassembly" mean?

A. It's a politician's manual for making speeches.
B. Designing a product that can be easily taken apart for remanufacturing or recycling
C. Equipment that can be cannibalized for spare parts

Which of the following strategies is not recommended for designing green buildings?

A. Discourage communication among architects, engineers, and building users.
B. When selecting indoor materials, think about the types of cleaners that will be needed to maintain them and how those choices will affect indoor air quality.
C. Think about reducing HVAC sizing through window selection.

answers

 
 
 

DESIGN RESOURCES

Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies
http://eerc.ra.utk.edu/
clean/

Green Product Design
http://www.greenbiz.com/
toolbox/essentials_third.
cfm?LinkAdvID=7588

Green Construction
http://www.pprc.org/pprc/
pubs/topics/
greencon/toc.html

UW Design for Environment Page
http://www.me.washington.
edu/~cooper/index.htm


Green Purchasing: Getting Buy-In

        So, the life-cycle assessment is complete and the product is designed. The next step is to acquire the energy and materials that turn the design into a sustainable product.
        How much leverage do businesses have to obtain green supplies from their vendors? A vendor serving SEH America, which manufactures silicon for semiconductors, found out the hard way. When a vendor delivered parts in drippy, poorly maintained trucks, the trucks were held on site until the vendor agreed to take better care of them.
        As this example shows, purchasing is a powerful leverage point product buyers can use to reduce costs, minimize liabilities, and catalyze product innovation. Companies greening their supply chains have not taken uniform approaches. Circumstances differ from firm to firm. However, there are strategies that are commonly employed, according to an article published October 2000 in The Green Business Letter. One is constant communication to educate vendors. "Perhaps the most important common trait is the understanding among companies that their efforts to educate, screen, evaluate, monitor or otherwise interact with suppliers on environmental issues is key to their own performance and competitiveness."
        Here are some tips to get started:
        COMMITMENT - Get a commitment from upper management. Explain the benefits in business terms: cost savings, risk reductions, workplace safety, better product quality, improved company image. Adopt a clear statement of purpose, containing measurable goals and targets.
        COOPERATION - Work with employees who will be expected to use new products. Find out the performance characteristics they want. Ask for their ideas on products and process changes that will improve efficiency and reduce toxicity.
        COMMUNICATION - Make sure your vendors are aware of your green purchasing policies and the environmental expectations you have for their products. Educate: Explain what you're trying to achieve and how they could benefit. Be clear about your expectations without being overbearing.
        ACCOUNTABILITY - There are a number of tools for ensuring supplier performance. They include formal contract language, product specifications, questionnaires, audits, site visits, and requirements that suppliers adopt environmental management systems. Here are true-life green purchasing examples:

Paper Cutter: Kinko's
        Kinko's self-serve copiers are stocked with minimum 30 percent post-consumer content paper. Tree-free, chlorine-free, and 100 percent post-consumer content paper is available in full service areas. In 1997, Kinko's pledged to avoid knowing purchase of wood or paper from old-growth forests. Kinko's routinely audits supplier paper mills to check on forest management practices and compliance with environmental laws.

Performance Monitor: Hewlett-Packard
        Environmental performance is one of six sets of standards that H-P suppliers must meet. Vendors must have environmental policies with measurable goals, complete a questionnaire, and avoid the use of ozone-depleting substances.

Smaller Footprint: Nike
        Contract footwear and clothing manufacturing plants must sign a code of conduct. Local plant managers receive sustainability training. Nike provides consulting services for wastewater management, hazardous waste, and measuring for results. Plants must avoid blacklisted chemicals, which include mutagens, teratogens, and endocrine disruptors.
        How can product stewardship be integrated into product marketing strategies? See below for information about "servicizing" and takeback. end

GREEN PURCHASING RESOURCES

PPRC Environmental Purchasing Topical Report
http://www.pprc.org/
pprc/pubs/topics/
envpurch.html

Greening the Supply Chain
http://www.usaep.org/
ctem/greening.htm

EPA Environmentally Preferred Purchasing
http://www.epa.gov/
oppt/epp

Sustainable Products Standards
http://www.sustainable
products.com/
susproddef.html


"SERVICIZING": Earning More by Selling Less

        Back in the early 1990s, Portland General Electric (PGE) hired rock composer and musician Frank Zappa for a series of radio commercials. In one ad, the irreverent Zappa told the story of how he was hired. He told the utility guys that he would refuse to urge PGE customers to buy more of PGE's product. The utility guys said, "Great." In fact, Zappa went on, somewhat mystified, he would tell the customers to buy even less of PGE's product. The utility guys said, "Great."
        Did PGE lose its corporate mind? Why did PGE pay Frank Zappa to tell its customers to buy less electricity? The answer requires a shift in mental gears. Often, people buy products for the service the product delivers, not for the sake of having the product itself. If a product can deliver more service per unit of "stuff," then it delivers more value, costs fall, and environmental impacts are reduced.
        In PGE's case, there was a sound business case for encouraging customers to use electricity more efficiently. Freeing up electricity through efficiency was cheaper for PGE than buying electricity from power plants. Customers get more of what they really want - light and heat, for example - per kilowatt-hour.
        How does servicizing work? Servicizing companies take contractual responsibility for delivering services to a client. For example, a company will pay for a parts coating service rather than buying paint. The more efficiently the vendor delivers the service, the more it profits, creating a built-in incentive for delivering service with fewer units of "stuff."
        efficient lightsUsing products as platforms for delivering services creates business reasons for producers to extend their involvement with products outside the bounds of traditional buyer-seller relationships. Servicizing allows businesses to offer more convenience and flexibility to customers. Dell's computer leasing program, for example, provides customers with the information management services of computers, without them having to worry about disposal issues, which are peripheral to core business concerns.
        There are a number of barriers to servicizing, as outlined in a 1999 Tellus Institute report. Manufacturers may have difficulty accepting the decoupling of product volume sales from profits. Customers may perceive servicizing as less desirable than product ownership. Incomplete understanding of all the costs of buying chemicals - management and disposal, for example -may impede understanding of servicizing's economic advantages.
        Examples of companies that have "servicized" include:
        CHEMICALS: - Castrol International offers chemical management services for metalworking fluids and industrial lubricants. Metalworking businesses, for example, can contract with Castrol for product selection, process engineering, waste minimization, and health and safety education. At a Navistar plant, coolant use has been cut by more than half.
        ENERGY: - Starwood Hotels, owner of the Westin, Sheraton and other properties, has contracted with Enron Energy Services to buy electricity and gas, and implement efficiency measures. Starwood says efficiency measures will reduce costs and improve guest experience. Computerized HVAC, for example, improves indoor air quality and temperature consistency. end

SERVICIZING RESOURCES

"Servicizing: The Quiet Transition to Extended Product Responsibility," the Tellus Institute
http://www.tellus.org/
risk/publications/
servicizing.pdf

"Leasing: A Step Toward Producer Responsibility"
http://www.informinc.org/
leasingastep.pdf

"Make Your Next New Product a Service," by Jacquelyn A. Ottman
http://www.green
marketing.com/articles/
IB_Nov_Dec99.html

Chemical Strategies Partnership
http://www.chemical
strategies.org


"TAKEBACK": Creating Reverse Supply Chains

        Think of a forest as a kind of factory. Throughout the year, it produces an assortment of "products" - seeds and leaves, for example - that "consumers" like birds and deer use for their sustenance. When the birds and deer are done with the products, they - ahem - discard them. What happens next?
        In a forest ecosystem, there is no such thing as landfills or incinerators that isolate or destroy, respectively, the value embedded in the discards. Instead, the discards are designed for easy disassembly by soil microbes. Once taken apart, the materials are taken back into the forest supply chain where they will be made into new seeds and leaves. It's a pretty nifty model. Nothing is wasted and cheap feedstock is readily available for the next product cycle.
        The manufacturers at Kodak may not have been thinking of forests when they designed the company's single-use cameras for takeback. But they followed like principles.
        Back in the late 1980s, Kodak took a hard public relations hit when it began marketing single-use cameras, which ended up as throwaways. Kodak used its strong relationships with photofinishers to set up a reverse supply chain - a collection system for obtaining discarded cameras. Using life-cycle assessment and design tools, and integrating product design and environmental staff, Kodak has reduced material and energy embedded in the cameras, increased parts recycling, and increased the number of parts reused in new cameras. Through five generations, material and energy used for making the cameras has been cut by two-thirds or more. Every camera part, except for the battery, is recycled or reused.
        (Find out more about Kodak's product stewardship story at http://www.kodak.com/
country/US/en/corp/
environment/performance/
recycling/suc.shtml
.)
        U.S. companies that have pursued product takeback in the absence of mandates have done so in response to several drivers. Discarded products are a cheap feedstock that can be turned into high-value products. cameraDuPont collects discarded commercial carpeting and recycles it into injection molded plastic parts for automobiles, flooring tiles, and fabric for home furnishings.
        Another driver is heading off regulatory liability. Nickel-cadmium battery manufacturers established a nationwide, self-funded system (http://www.rbrc.org/) for taking back spent Ni-Cd batteries in order to avoid piecemeal, state-mandated takeback requirements.
        However, there are barriers to takeback as well, including cheap disposal costs, procurement specifications, and resistance to remanufactured products. Xerox has relied on quality testing and customer education to overcome perceptions that remanufactured products are inferior in quality.
        Below are other takeback examples.
        COMPUTERS: Sony has announced a takeback and recycling program for its products in Minnesota. IBM will take back and recycle any computer for $29.99.
        Find out more: http://www.sel.sony.com/
SEL/esh/mnproj/index.html

http://www.ibm.com/ibm/
environment/news/ptb.phtml

        CARPETING: Numerous manufacturers, including Milliken, Collins & Aikman, Interface, and BASF, have takeback and recycling programs. The states of Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin are working with the carpet industry to establish a third-party organization to handle collection and recycling of discarded carpeting.
        Find out more: http://www.epa.gov/epr/
products/carpet_d.html

http://www.moea.state.mn.us/
policy/carpet/index.cfm

        TIRES: The Tire Recycling Management Association creates markets for discarded tires in Alberta. Between 1992 and 1999, 16 million tires were recycled and tire piles were eliminated.
        Find out more: http://www.trma.com end

TAKEBACK RESOURCES

Proceedings of (1996) Workshop on Extended Product Responsibility
http://clinton4.nara.gov/
PCSD/Publications/
EPR.html

EPA Extended Product Responsibility
http://www.epa.gov/epr


 
 
 

Quiz Answers

1. The correct answer is "B." "Design for disassembly" is designing products that can be easily taken part for remanufacturing or recycling when end users are finished with them. If you chose "A," you may have misread the phrase. "A" would have been correct had we asked what "design for dissembling" means. Read a fascinating speech about environmental design at http://villa.lakes.com/
eltechno/TVAdfd.html
. See a design slide show at
http://www.biothinking.com/
slidesh.htm
.

2. The correct answer is "A." Communication among all building project participants is vital. Find out more: PPRC's Green Construction guide, http://www.pprc.org/pprc/
pubs/topics/greencon/
toc.html
.

Chris Wiley
Industry Liaison

        This may sound like a cover letter to a resume, but I am not job hunting. PPRC just wants you to get to know our staff a little better.
        I hold a bachelor of science degree in environmental assessment and policy from Western Washington University. My first job was assisting the city of Bellevue with its Business Partners for Clean Water outreach project.
        Chris WileyI then was hired as an environmental ethics counselor to a large Seattle metal fabricator. I showed them that pollution prevention and proactivity were not cost burdens.
        I have been PPRC's Industry Liaison since 1996.
        My P2 Philosophy - "Everything consumes - people, businesses, nations and nature (which does it sustainably). We will prevent pollution when every actor in a consumable's life cycle is educated about their individual impact on the environment, and how they can collectively mitigate that impact."

Current Projects:
  • Practical tools for businesses greening their supply chains
  • Product stewardship tools for manufacturers
  • Sector-based information hubs
            Contact me at cwiley@pprc.org. end

  • Crispin Stutzman
    Information Services Manager

            I became interested in environmental issues early in life. Growing up in Seattle during the 70's, I remember recycling, the impact of the "energy crunch," and frequent camping trips with my family. This interest continues, and at PPRC, I feel I can help ensure a high quality of life in the Northwest. I've worked for PPRC since 1995.
            At PPRC, I wear several hats. As PPRC's webmaster, I handle web development, oversee our site and maintain our computer network. Also, I work closely with P2Rx - the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange - a nationwide network of eight P2 centers. P2Rx is developing several web-based tools that you'll hear about soon!Crispin Stutzman
            Outside of PPRC, I enjoy backpacking, hiking, fly fishing, photography, green DIY home-improvement projects, and playing with my dog Reidar. (Send me an e-mail if you want to see what he looks like!)
            I have a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in international studies and peace and strategic studies, and a master's from the University of Toronto in environmental politics. Before joining PPRC, I worked with Physicians for Social Responsibility (Seattle office) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (DC office).
            Contact me at cstutzman@pprc.org. end

    PPRC Green Building Guide
            PPRC has published two resources on green building, a general guide and a report aimed at schools.
            The general green building guide will help designers, builders, and facility operators plan and operate buildings that are resource-efficient, healthy, and comfortable. Users are encouraged to take a holistic perspective to designing, building, and operating buildings as integrated systems, which can maximize the resource efficiency benefits of green building.
            On line at http://www.pprc.org/pprc/
    pubs/topics/greencon/toc.html
    .

    PPRC Sustainable Schools Guide
            Sustainable schools are special kinds of green buildings. While they are resource-efficient and save costs, their primary benefit is creating an environment that enhances the learning experience.
            PPRC's guide for designing sustainable schools includes overviews, the relationship between sustainable design and learning performance, and three case studies, including an intermediate school on Bainbridge Island, Wash.
            On line at http://www.pprc.org/pprc/
    pubs/topics/schools/toc.html
    .

    Get Help with Green Purchasing
            EPA has created three environmentally preferred, or "green" purchasing resources. They include: 1) state and local green purchasing "pioneers," 2) federal agency pioneers, and 3) a guide for small businesses who want to sell products to the federal government.
            The first resource describes the experiences of state and local governments with evaluating and buying green products, including cleaners, paper, coatings, electronic products, electricity, and alternative fuel vehicles.
            To find out more, visit http://www.epa.gov/oppt/epp and click on "What's New."

    P2 for Machine Shops
            The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County has put up a resource to help metal machine shops manage hazardous waste. The resource includes fact sheets on making metal working fluids last longer and stay cleaner, and management guidance for fluids that contain chlorinated compounds.
            On line at http://www.metrokc.gov/
    hazwaste/machineshop
    .
            For more assistance for machine shops, visit PPRC's compliance and P2 guide at http://www.pprc.org/pprc/
    sbap/machine/mach_toc.html
    .

    Sustainable Cities Training
            The Pacific Northwest Economic Region is sponsoring the international training workshop, Pollution Prevention for Sustainable Cities, in Seattle May 9-12. This four-day intensive training event will help participants understand practical strategies for reducing waste and pollution in cities through eco-efficiency and community development.
            Participants will receive practical education about implementing successful P2 programs in cities and towns, including ones in developing countries and ones with minimal budgets and regulation.
            To find out more, visit http://www.cleancities.net.

    Waste as an Opportunity
            A panel discussion will be held in Portland April 30 to explore opportunities and barriers to growing businesses that reuse and remanufacture discards into useful new products. Entrepreneurs will join Diane Garcia, director of the Waste to Work Partnership, a project of the Center for Watershed and Community Health, to discuss their experiences in operating waste-based businesses.
            The seminar is free, but attendees must RSVP to Alex Welsch at 503-725-8101, or psu10998@odin.cc.pdx.edu. end

    PARTING THOUGHT

    "Maximizing short-term value by encouraging maximum consumption exacerbates damage to the natural ecosystem and exclusion from participation in the world economy."
    Carly Fiorina, CEO, Hewlett-Packard

    PPRC
    Practical solutions for big environmental problems
    PPRC, a non-profit organization, is the Northwest's leading source of high quality, unbiased environmental solutions information. Through a collaborative approach, we focus on solutions that integrate resource efficiency and environmental health into business, government, and communities. Board of Directors:
    President: Richard Bach, Stoel Rives, Portland
    Vice President: Joan Cloonan, J.R. Simplot Company, Boise
    Vice President: Kirk Thompson, The Boeing Company, Seattle
    Secretary: Dana Rasmussen, Seattle
    Jeff Allen, Ore. Environmental Council, Portland
    Rod Brown, Marten & Brown LLP, Seattle
    Charles Findley, EPA Region 10, Seattle
    Scott Forest, Forrest Paint Co., Eugene
    Tom Korpalski, Hewlett-Packard, Boise
    Alan Schuyler, Phillips Alaska, Anchorage
    Staff:
    Blair Henry, JD, Executive Director
    Jim DiPeso, Deputy Director/Communications Director
    Cathy Buller, Director, World Change Through Party Planning
    Al Campbell, Administrative Assistant
    L.B. Sandy Rock, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer
    Ana Simon, Chief Financial Officer
    Crispin Stutman, MA, Information Services Manager
    Chris Wiley, Industry Liaison
    Pollution Prevention ... and more Northwest is published quarterly by PPRC. Part or all of the newsletter may be copied. Articles may be reprinted or distributed electronically only in their entirety with written permission from PPRC. Please credit the author (if any), followed by "Pollution Prevention ... and more Northwest, PPRC." To receive a free subscription (electronic or hard copy), contact PPRC.
    Editor: Jim Dipeso
    E-mail: jdipeso@pprc.org
    Address: 513 1st Ave. W, Seattle, WA 98119
    Telephone: 206-352-2050
    Fax: 206-352-2049
    Web Design: Crispin Stutzman

     

    1999, Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center
    phone: 206-325-2050, e-mail: office@pprc.org, web: www.pprc.org
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