Chapter 5 Lecture Consumption

in this lecture we’ll continue our consideration of some of the root causes of environmental problems by looking at the consumption of the resources we take for granted in everyday life just the fact that you’re taking this course online you’re interacting with quite a bit of Technology potentially both here from the source my end and also from the computer you’re looking at and all the transmission systems and network interfacing so we consume an increasingly complex array of resources both in terms of earth resources the materials we use for energy which we’ll follow up on in more detail later in the course earth rock and mineral resources electronic consumer goods consumer everyday products like paper that come from renewable sources but still constitute a heavy heavy impact on some areas to produce the wood and fiber needed and then building materials plastics wood products all the things we use in everyday life if you look at the trend of our use of resources over the last century you’ll notice that the growth of resource use has been rather dramatic and it picked up substantially during and following World War two and then following the economic boom of post-war America and the rest of the world we see almost all categories of resources in increasing use construction materials come and go like many of the resources with the economy when the economy is down there’s less building less consumption of resources but when there’s a recovery then the growth of utilization and demand picks right back up the growth of cities and the expansion of highway infrastructure and the expanded use of automobiles during the middle and latter parts of the 20th century we’re a major driver of our consumption of construction materials both for urban infrastructure but also roads there applications if you contrast the current day and age back with the turn of the last century in 1900 it’s interesting to note that about 40% of the materials we consumed were from renewable sources and wood construction was probably the most typical major construction component since then composites metal other asphalt shingle materials and a lot of other non wood products and incoming increasingly heavy use by 1995 only about 8% of the mirror materials consumed weren’t considered renewable we’ll look at this chart and some more detail in the following slides when you consider if we would take out that aggregate road-building concrete type of materials out of it and look at the other categories such as minerals metals plastics organics wood products and so on you see a similar trend in increasing consumption over that time frame and this is driven in part by industrial minerals and one you might not think of what was a significant part of the our resource consumption is gypsum materials that are used in wallboard the most modern house construction and plastics especially since world war ii and increased their application and variety of uses dramatically since then you see on the graph at the bottom the change in the wood consumption is due to the fact that the way that reporting and data acquisition for paper and wood products changed in terms of accounting for paper separate from wood products whereas prior to that then we’re lumped together by the agencies that track their use when you compare the United States to the world our use has grown slowly but subtly along with our population increase and our increasing level of affluence as far as our ability to consume more goods we’re a bit more efficient in many of the things we do and so maybe don’t use quite as much per capita compared to the growth of the rest of the world but that’s mainly due to our slower population growth the world consumption though is increasing at a more steady rate and our global impact on the on the planet and its resources has increased accordingly let’s pause and suggest a couple of review questions that you should write down and consider first you should be able to describe the trend of

resource consumption and what are some of the factors that affected that trend why has there been growth and why has there been interruptions in that growth since what since World War two what material resources have been consumed with the greatest mass and rate should know the general category I’m not so concerned that you know the exact percentages those you can look up can you – and how does the u.s. compare with the rest of the world and its consumption of resources and what what accounts for the rate of our consumption so make a note of these and as a review for quizzes the exam try to make a list of these that you can refer to another aspect of considering material consumption is the notion of weight versus volume these are both important from the standpoint of the way we manage materials we price materials and especially when we talk later in the class about waste products and waste management volume plays a factor as well in terms of just our ability to distort dispose of waste materials if you look at the trends over that time in metric tons versus cubic meters they do tend to track somewhat and that there’s been a steady growth in some categories such as wood and paper when you look at the volume though some areas you’ll find that some of the volumes have not increases dramatically but others have the big change has been the fact that there has been increased use of metal recycling and paper the metal recycling probably started earlier and that was driven by economics the availability of raw material minerals as opposed to scrap yards and metal recycling early on became more profitable compared to extraction of new materials paper likewise there’s been a consumer demand an awareness of the impact of forest practices and consumer shift in appreciation for the need to manager forests more wisely spurred greater demand for recycled paper products and thus you see a stronger growth in that category but another troubling in some ways trend has been that the amount of plastic consumed has increased and the consumption is still greater for plastic on a weight basis certainly than recycled paper plastic is comprised of petrochemicals largely oil and it finds its way into more and more products water bottles drinking water bottles things like that and again those lead back into waste issues that will address later in the class if you look at our use per person and this is where you can think about your own use of resources on as being a quote average person the use per person per year is tied very heavily to the economy when the economy is up the use of wood and paper will increase when the economy goes into recession or economic downturns then that consumption will would be reduced our use of metals has stabilized for the most part whereas we use probably more things made out of plastic and you probably have commented on this or have heard it comment on that plastic is replaced the role of metal in many areas and thus our demand for metal products has not continued to increase the same way the plastic has plus with metal recycling there’s a lot more reuse going on despite the increased use of plastic there is more recycling going on and recycled plastics especially recycled paper are going are increasing although the recycled paper use and consumption is going to more more readily than any sort of recycled plastics which is just now starting as anak economic material base focusing on paper and wood consumption there’s been about a 50 percent increase in worldwide paper consumption over the last decade or more and this has largely been tied to probably not so much the last decade

probably the last 20 years tied to the advent of personal computers laser printers inkjet printers you name it all of these easier cheaper access to printing things created a definite increase in the demand for printer paper that is I haven’t seen data lately but I believe that slowing when you look at the amount of electronic correspondence and efforts to go paperless and offices and things like that but this is still the computer age and the micro computer age PCs and such has definitely unint it’s estimated that on average about 700 pounds of paper are consumed each year by the average American and that represents the consumption and processing of approximately seven large trees and the per capita wood consumption another way to look at it on a volume basis is approximately 80 cubic feet and I’ll leave it to you to kind of constructing your own mind and visualize how much it can be cubic feet is in the room around you say wood is the the positive aspect that compared to many of the other materials is that wood is a renewable resource however you have to bear in mind that the wood that’s consumed for paper and products especially disposable products especially – may take decades 3040 years before a tree grows to the size that it can be harvested and turned so the turnover rate and the harvesting and production rate of trees is far longer than say routine vegetable crops or things that are here on an annual basis so if demand is increasing there’s probably or there is with that a corresponding need to increase the amount of acreage of trees being harvested to keep up with that demand and that demand may not be sustainable especially with concerns that we’re going into marginal lands or lands with sensitive species and animal species or areas where harvesting on steep slopes may degrade water quality fish habitat that’s shifted a lot of the demand or the production of timber lands from the United States and Canada to tropical systems where there is less environmental regulation and fairly rapid growth but the impacts on the environment there can be substantial so you should review here you need to know the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources and the text has an expanded discussion of this would expect you to read that you need to be able to summarize the u.s consumption patterns over the last few decades what are we consuming more of less of and why in the second lecture section we’re going to look at a case study and some of the processes that lead to consideration of whether or not the way we use resources is sustainable or not interface carpets is the business that’s highlighted in the textbook and as the book points out it was a very successful probably one of the leading country carpet companies in the u.s. to produce carpet tiles and very profitable and the book points out that Ray Anderson the owner felt that life was good business was good until one day when feedback from customers asked the question of what is interface carpets carpets doing to make its products environmentally friendly and apparently that was a seminal moment for mr. Anderson and he stopped to think about how they produce carpet tile its petroleum-based synthetics generates a tremendous amount of waste and has created it largely or almost entirely out of non-renewable resources so this prompted him to take a hard look at how the company operated and where they could make changes to be should make sure that their products were more environmentally friendly as well as profitable Ray Anderson pointed out that they determined that their company just didn’t get it they were following all the rules labor laws environmental laws paid for materials

paid for the disposal of materials and operating completely within the law as a major industrial operation in Georgia the problem was is that there’s there’s more to their operation in the long-term than just their daily operations and their immediate profit scheme and that’s what the basis for looking at the environmental and ecological economics of modern industrial practices and consumer product production involves and I should point out and emphasize the fact that it was consumers giving feedback to the company that triggered the change in interface carpet so if you have any doubts about your ability to make a significant impact on the world the change within a company you as a consumer have the ability either individually or collectively the ability to give feedback and exercise through consumer feedback to the company or through consumer choice the ability to influence how businesses operate this is an excellent example of that so you’ll hear more and more as time goes on but currently there’s a great deal of attention and more being focused on sustainability and that is that you know what is this term about what does it mean to be sustainable and this concept is fairly simple if you look the word up in the dictionary it’s just being able to continue doing something within this case without degrading the environment so that you can produce materials or consumer goods without running out of them in order to be able to do that in the future and not preventing future generations from being able to do that and you’ll see this tripartite diagram down here where three areas provide the foundation for we consider sustainable practices or activities or businesses there’s an environmental component there’s an economic component and there’s an equity or social component and there has to be balance between these to some degree and all of them have to be present in order to ensure that the act kivett e or business or product production that they’re contributing to is truly sustainable you can’t degrade the environment past a point and continue to do that indefinitely likewise you have to be able to be profitable or to pay your way both in terms of short-term internal costs which we’ll talk about as well as being mindful of external costs and the equity or the social impact the use of unfair labor practices or exploiting people is not the basis for something that can be carried on in the long term so sustainable business sustainable practice sustainable economic activities are those that literally can go on more or less indefinitely without degrading any of these three areas in the world so this is a review question that feeds this particular topic so of the following four items which is defined as development that meets present needs without preventing future generations from meeting their needs and hopefully in this case you’ll choose a which is what we’ve just described in order to create a sustainable development practice or a business and to make it possible you have to understand several items first you need to know what goods ecosystems are in terms of the goods and services that they provide we’ll be talking more about ecosystems somewhat later in the course but we’re going to introduce the concept here next there are some newer terms referred to as natural capital and natural interest and if you leave off the word natural capital and interest hopefully you’ve had some introduction to through finance personal finance you’re either in an economics course or somewhere in your everyday life and then third it’s to know how the world operates from the standpoint of economic models because you’ll read and hear tremendous debate and arguments over whether or not doing something for the environment is good for the economy and underlying that is

understanding the economy and economics how it operates and what are some of the assumptions that our current economic models employ these are some of the ideas that we’ll introduce in this lecture segment and finally you need to have a notion of what our internal and external class what’s the true cost of something they cut there another term another set of terms for this are direct and indirect costs but in either event you need to understand the true cost of anything you purchase or consume so to start with ecosystem goods and services you may have a notion of what an ecosystem is it’s the living biological environment interacting with the physical environment around it it could be a forest it could be a river side area it could be a vineyard on a hillside where the living plant and animal communities are interacting with the hillside the soils the underlying rocks the climate and so on so the ecosystem is essentially the natural world around us there’s a human ecosystem there are urban ecosystems but it’s that interaction between the biological and the physical environments that comprises it and these ecosystems provide us with goods and services that for the most part until you think about them in these words may not have really realized how much we rely on ecosystems not just for aesthetic values or for a wildlife habitat but for the value of the services they provide us environmental resources are some that we’re familiar with timber for paper production for lumber and other wood products water these are ecosystem goods these are act an jabal forms of matter that we that we derive as humans from the environment around us and there are resources we value them directly and typically they’re fairly well reefs are recognized there are also ecological processes that constitute ecosystem services some examples are the purification of water nutrient cycling elemental cycling that makes life possible on this planet this figure gives you a representation of an akan environmentalist effort to try and put a value on many of these equal ecosystem services but the text book points out that even these underestimate the value of something that we take completely for granted and has probably you know there’s no way to put a price on it and that’s that through the process of photosynthesis green plants living ecosystems on this planet generate oxygen oxygen is essential for life as we know it for us how do you put a value a dollar value on the air we breathe is there any way you can value that you would have to value life itself and that’s very difficult to do at a planetary total human population scale and that’s an example of an ecosystem service breathable atmosphere and it’s not even included on this list some of the things you will see that might might make some sense easier than others climate regulation we need adequate rainfall or snow in the high country and the Sierra to produce the water that we use for large-scale agriculture in California well the climate regulation is a physical process affected by plant communities primarily and those are ecosystem services that have a value of producing not only the water availability but also the temperature regulation that allows us to produce the food we need for human populations so there are numerous resources here excuse me services here of natural processes that we take completely for granted that attempting to put a dollar value on at the large scale gives you some sense of the of the the larger economics that is largely overlooked when humans try to value the the prospect of leaving a land in natural function as opposed to turning it into some sort of developed use the value of these other Rica services is of critical to consider and so this comes to the next idea of

natural capital versus natural interest and this is where again capital and interest are they may be the more familiar terms for you so let’s take an example from a financial case a generous relative is feeling that they would like to do something nice for you and so they give you a million dollars one day completely unexpected and if you don’t spend it all right away you might put it in the bank and a million dollars might generate in this example one hundred thousand dollars a year or about ten percent Interest so you decide to spend some money now and he gives you three different scenarios if you spend a hundred thousand dollars a year you’re spending the interest and the capital is always maintained as a reserve if you spend less than one hundred thousand dollars the portion you don’t spend adds to the capital and it grows and you’re after eight years this example you have more than a million dollars however if you spend more than the interest and in this example say double what the interest is you can run out of that million within eight years by spending as little as two hundred thousand dollars a year without thought to remaining or retaining the original capital so there’s your financial example and I think that at least other than the dollar amounts might make sense to you from a personal situation in terms of living off of the interest versus the principle or or capital of a financial resource now to translate that into an ecological ecosystem example the textbook provides you with the case where suppose you have tuna or any other large ocean-going fish that provides that population of fish all of the tuna in that population is the natural capital and their breeding and they’re within the their ability to add to their numbers each year so the natural interest natural interest would be the cumulative birthrate are based on the cumulative birthrate that we talked about in the population lecture and you would have population growth so if you harvest the fish for a food source say as long as you only take as many fish as they’re born and survive each year the original population of the fish the tuna is maintained if you take less than or more or added to the population each year then that population may grow depending on the availability of its food sources or predation or other controls on its population however and this is the case currently with many major fish species in the ocean if we collectively harvest and this could be different company in our countries take each taking their preceeded portion of the tuna if we harvest in aggregate or in total more tuna than are produced each year then eventually the population can be diminished to the point where it crashes and you could actually have an extinction event so again there’s a strong linkage between our financial example and the natural systems example that you can find in ecological systems both are trying to portray the difference between the capital say the starting population or in the starting financial balance and the amount of money added or individuals added to the population and then how do we use either resource either Abbotsford annual production rate or greater or less than so then we come to the notion of economics itself and economic analysis you’re probably used to thinking of economics as being concerned with job growth the calculation of the amount of exports imports financial reserves and so on these are economic data that we’re commonly exposed to through the media but economics is more than that it is a total look at a system and may include things like the future workforce examples are the graduation rates of in science engineering mathematics stem the male versus female in terms of who the future workforce is going to be so in general economics is a social science and it deals with how

scarce resources are allocated and to the extent that there are 7 billion peoples people on the earth most resources have the potential to become scarce fairly readily but as we noted it considers many other areas than just the money and the finances many of the resources and ecosystem services that we depend on come from the environment and as such would need to be valued and analyzed much the same as any cost or financial resource would this leads us to the notion of economic modeling and traditional economics take a fairly non-scientific and simply a simplistic view but they keep just primarily to the resources that are used their extraction whether they be energy or or natural resources and materials they’ll go through some sort of a production process they’ll be turned into a useable form they’ll be consumed those values the profit derived from their sale and use and the benefits derived from that will be calculated internally within society and then there’s a waste component of the material after the materials have been used whether it be waste rock whether it be wood waste from processing lumber or paper and so on but there’s an EM disposal of the final product itself so this is a linear system where you take a resource you use it you drive value from it and then you dispose of it mainstream economics like most models have a series of assumptions with them and these are going to be in contrast then with the ecosystems of the earth and the natural systems that exist beyond human society but are closely related most economic models currently and historically used take that linear thinking line of thinking in terms of extraction use dried benefits and then dispose waste of they assumed and I’ve heard this repeatedly that the resources and the human resources are infinite and are and or easily substitutable we assume that most economic growth is patterned on continued growth this goes back to the last lecture where I asked the if you have a small town of a hundred thousand people like Chico can it grow indefinitely well most economic growth envisioned for a town like that would assume or desire that it can grow indefinitely the notion of steady-state economics is not well established in most business models and economic models that you’ll see in everyday society and so the resources the human resources the ability to grow indefinitely is assumed to be can go on indefinitely and the interesting thing is that the the waste that’s released from most production and resource based systems assume that you can just simply throw away materials and that they have no consequence and no cost once that are disposed of so there is a throw away there’s a in a way that things go too and don’t enter back into your economic analysis this contrast of these ideas contrasts with the real systems that operate and underlie those ecosystems goods and services first nature operates a cyclical fashion think of the water cycle water reaches the atmosphere returns as rain moves through systems evaporates and then about reefs regenerates the precipitation system most elements operate in a similar cyclical fashion and resources especially energy resources that are most are most commonly used ones are not infinite and it’s not that easy necessarily at least in the current time to develop substitutes although we are making quite a bit of progress it’s not a simple process of well if we can’t use this or we run out of oil we’ll find something else well there are things like jet fuel for example that we’re just now starting to find alternatives to

biofuel or biofuel alternatives but were still a fuel based aircraft propulsion system we don’t have other drive systems and so there are very real limits to how far we can go with air travel for example in terms of finding substitute resources most ecosystems are typically already at a steady state meaning that they take in what they need they release some materials through to other parts of the landscape or the watersheds around them but they are not necessarily continually growing an example would be a forest it will grow to a mature state there can be a natural lightning or other wildfire situation that will remove the forest seeds will be sprout and the forest will return and there is no continual growth in a way that long-term growth can go on either indefinitely or for very very long period of times there will be some sort of a steady-state dynamic steady state where systems will change reset and start over again and ultimately when waste material is generated there is no true away where waste goes to things that you put in a landfill certain chemicals will come back to the environment that will affect humans surrounding them waste materials that we throw away can generate gases that can contribute to climate change so there are no real places or situations to where you can truly throw away materials and waste materials and not have a long-term cost or consequence to so if you think of an economic model unlike the linear one we showed you earlier that has more of an environmental or ecological basis for it these are going to be ideally closed-loop systems resources especially energy sources are going to be renewable and readily renewable on a short timeframe resource extraction can be minimized by reusing materials and coming up with all natural alternatives materials that are used internally and the value that’s derived for them will feed back to investment in the perpetuation of those energy or resources that are extracted and there’s a great much greater emphasis on waste waste management waste decomposition composting reinvestment of the waste material and finding alternative uses for it so that only the most the barest minimum of those wastes that are very poorly reused or recycled are truly generated and have to be isolated from the environment it’s in very important that you through this course develop an awareness of the importance of the time frame over which we think operate consume and invest or put value back into the world around us the long-term impact of the two things we choose today have tremendous implications for human society and the environment around us we have to think of closed loop systems that are based dominantly maybe not entirely a dominantly on renewable resources and we have to be a lot more efficient in the resources we use the next time you go in to a public restroom or any place with a paper towel dispenser as you go to use the towel to grab a paper towel and I commonly see people grabbing two three four to wipe their hands what if you were in a situation where you had one package of paper towels that had to last you for a very long period of time how could you get the most use out of that rather than a more wasteful use of using more than you absolutely need likewise if you have a dripping faucet if you have a if you leave the water running while you’re brushing your teeth think of yourself as being innocent in an arid environment where water is precious and it’s if you have to carry it say from the water source to where you use it so you want to minimize your waste and you want to be as efficient as possible and I truly believe that if you start to think in these terms it can

become second nature it doesn’t change how you operate it becomes how you operate and you become far less wasteful than we are most of the time when we don’t stop to think about what we consume and this leads to a reduction in waste generation less waste going to landfill better recycling better reuse and simply a reduction in the amount of materials that we consume to contrast the two we talked about environmental economics and the ecological economics and there are some philosophical and ideological differences between the two an environmental economist believes that we can use the tools of modern economics to solve the problems we face in the environment and still keep on growing in the traditional unlimited growth models not business as usual but still a growth based economy with no end in sight in reality there are ultimate limits to growth we’re very close to or what must be approaching the limits globally how many people we can support in anything approaching a reasonable standard of living so we’re forced to think about more of a steady-state non growth economic system and that’s where ecological economics comes in it’s that you can only do so much with technology with clever practices that the growth in their economic growth limits and we must change the way we do things and find happiness and satisfaction the standard of living that’s based not on a continued growth model that we can find balance between the materials we’d desire and consume and the value we place on those and the costs were willing to bear in balance with a functioning set of ecosystem resources and services so there’s a significant difference between environmental economics and ecological economics in terms of how they view primarily the notion of growth in the long term one of the other final areas we mentioned earlier is that the current economics we we work with doesn’t take into account all the potential costs associated with a given product material or service so some review questions the traditional economics tend to discount the future value of goods the result is that ecosystem services become devalued short-term benefits outweigh long-term benefits ecosystem value services become overvalued or D none of the above answers are correct so which of these do you believe ties to this notion the fact that we don’t in modern traditional economics don’t tend to account for the future value of goods so take a look at that and then review that section in the text so internal external and true costs direct and indirect costs if you look at this notion in a as a total through cost there are the book uses the term internal costs and external costs you can also use the term or use the term direct in directing an internal or direct cost for say paper that the book your books you’ll be buying if you’re taking classes this fall would consist of the buildings that use to process the paper the electricity that ran the equipment to process wood pulp into paper products the trees the labor both in the field and in the factory the equipment the transportation the fuel costs all of that goes into the price per piece of paper of you may be consuming those are the internal costs that what that’s what you go it goes into the cost you pay at the store now there are also external costs or indirect costs that you don’t see directly as a consumer these would involve things like soil pollution excuse me soil erosion that might occur with harvesting on over steep and lands application of pesticides or fertilizers to forest lands to try and get more tree growth that then impact the water quality downstream and populations that rely on those water and treatment

systems the soil erosion itself can be the loss of productive soils the air pollution and pulp and paper plants are some of the dirtiest at least historically of the any of the air quality problems we face they are a typical source to make white paper the bleaching process leads to the formation of dioxin which is in close competition with plutonium as being one of the most toxic substances humans have enhanced or either created or enhanced in the environment so the air pollution costs are very significant and those can lead to health problems so of the health problems the deforestation the water pollution those prices the price for those is passed on to society and it’s passed on to you as a taxpayer so if you think about it you’re paying considerably more for a piece of paper than just the price that is charged for that ream or that case of paper or the book that is used the price is spread though through taxes through the cost of other materials and especially if you’re concerned about paying too much taxes and too much government a lot of those taxes go to things that are dealing with these other external costs of wood and pulp production for production of paper which is one of the primary uses of forest systems so you can you can value these to some degree but we know that there is external cost associated with these problems that come from are typically associated with the production of paper so the true cost is not being paid for by the consumer it’s being passed on to the taxpayer depending on regardless of whether you use much paper or not so if you think about it the businesses that produce the goods and/or services and the end event of individuals who purchase things will impact the environment regularly with the economic decisions they make and the decisions that you make and it’s being conscious of that and being again conscious of waste consuming only what you need not so much of all that you want that you can attempt to reduce the impact of these kind of choices the way we think about increasingly now the total cost and the total impact of all these decisions is known as the ecological footprint and we’ll be talking about this at several different points through the course and this our third and final section of this lecture will examine a way of quantifying our impact through resource consumption and that is embodied in the notion of the ecological footprint the ecological footprint is based on a number of different factors and some of them can be used to compare a fossil fuel based society such as our current one or a greater reliance on renewable energy in the future by definition that our ecological footprint is based on the land needed to provide the resources for and assimilate the waste of a person or a population that includes both raw materials used in city or wherever the calculation is done for it can involve the physical footprint of the city and how it affects water runoff or air pollution coming in life and some of the waste that’s assimilated by areas outside the city such as at a landfill or other waste dumping area the total footprint is that ecological footprint of the people living in that particular area the footprint will vary for different countries based on their population size and their per capita impact so envision people living in a remote village with no electricity minimal running water very limited housing structures and their impact on resources both with the support of their lifestyle and the waste they produce versus modern United States and say California Society and your own ecological impact the graphic shown here considers that

for a population of US population of about 300 million it’s estimated that that requires about two billion acres of land to provide the resources and assimilate the waste of our population this equates to approximately twenty four acres per person and thus the US overall is consuming approximately 7.2 billion acres total compared with the two billion acre land mass the united states itself so China’s population in contrast is 1.3 billion the area is roughly symbol of China is roughly similar to the United States at two billion people and the footprint of that much greater population for the same landmass there’s about two acres per person so China uses approximately 2.6 billion acres to support its population and if you’ve got an ecological footprint calculation you will do one again in this class they’ll give you an estimate of the number of planet Earth equivalents required if everybody on earth had a footprint like the United States does we would need over six Earth’s for the human population on this planet to live as we do in the United States conversely if everybody on earth had a footprint equivalent to the one in China we would have land and resources to spare however that’s changing with the rapid economic development that’s going on in China so fairly soon they will have a resource consumption base that will at least be equal to the current space of our our planet if not greater depending on where their growth takes them in order to calculate or estimate the size of an ecological footprint for a given place or population researchers often use what’s called the iPad equation and this equation is a simple quantification of the effects of the population size their level of affluence and technology and how much those individually will impact an individual or population and it’s in its footprint on the environment as population or effluence increases what happens to the technology it can either be an additive effect along with the impacts of the other two factors or it can be reduced the impact if the appropriate technologies were used such as using two more innovative alternative energy systems so let’s return to our case study of interface carpets and examine how they reduce their environmental impact and achieved a more sustainable business practice they looked at two different ways to do that first they examine the the product line they had and tried to find ways to reduce its impact they use biomimicry which if you’ll recall is the practice of using imitating a natural design or natural pattern in the design of products interface carpet developed what they refer to as tactiles or they produce carpet tiles technology and they set up their carpet glue based on how gecko lizards will cling to walls so essentially they were able to reduce the amount of toxic petroleum-based glues to a more of a physical contact based adhesive they did more than that just change their product line now they also examined their overall operations what’s called the lifecycle analysis and there we’re all business model they took an inventory of their energy and material inputs and evaluated the environmental impact of the product in this case carpet tile lines that they produced and in response to need to change they adopted what they referred to as a cradle to cradle system in this management system allowed them to reduce their energy inputs by about 43% per unit of production and they relied much more heavily on recycled and bio-based ingredients for about 40% of its raw materials so this further reduced their energy and resource impact in the production of their product but that’s not all they went from a purely product oriented economy and Purdue and as a

product or an oppressor to become more of the service economy by changing the way that they focused on the consumer and the way they provided their product and services to the consumer their original model as a product economy took part predominantly petroleum as the main raw material for their carpet products and the factory factory they produced carpet squares and generated a substantial amount billions of pounds of waste annually consumers would purchase the carpet they’d use and care for the carpet themselves and then after a period of time or wanting to remodel consumers would discard discard the carpets and that would be essentially a linear model sending it off to the landfill in reinventing their product line and their approach to the business they went to they took it into account the service and a long-term interaction with their customers they produce the carpet tiles containing 100% recycled content instead of selling the tiles they leased the tile or the carpet tiles to the consumer and they provide service upkeep maintenance repair replacement of the tiles and when the if the customer wants a complete changeover say during a remodel they’ll come in and replace all the carpet sections and essentially redo them the innovative part of this is they take the materials back the carpet squares back and fully recycle them and keep them out of the landfill and put them back into the carpet factory and repeat the process it’s noted that they hoped even Ramon go on in mind landfills for discarded carpet if that can be recycled back into their processes and produce more new materials so this is a whole different way interacting with the customer servicing the customers needs and producing essentially no waste in the process of providing a product to the consumers this has been quite a transformation for mr. Anderson who founded interphase carpets and the quote here I think she gives you a sense of realizing that a change was needed the book talks about the the search it took him to figure out how to even approach this problem and what to do about it and they realized that but something had to be done I think he recognized with insight from others that the practices they had were not sustainable and that with the cost of resources and the indirect cost of the waste materials they were producing that it was important to try and alternate a model and it turns out they’ve been very successful this provides an excellent example of how businesses can reinvent themselves to achieve a more sustainable business model and environmental model for their business without losing customers and essentially with creating new market opportunities this concludes the third part of our lecture you should complete the lecture quiz following your review of this material