Thought Community Growth

First of all, the Electronics Supply and Manufacturing website just summarized the first chapter of the book Green Electronics Design and Manufacturing by Sammy G. Shina. My Cradle to Cradle sumnmaries pale in comparison to this in depth excerpt. It’s more like a brief text book.

It would be a great read for green manufacturing managers who aren’t sure if they need to read the whole book. However, they do provide a link to buy the book (Perhaps I should provide one to Cradle to Cradle).

Second, The Greening of Lean Manufacturing, a press release for McClarin Plastics published by informs readers that McClarin has increased business, kept to their lean principles, become greener, and increased profits.

“We are anxious to share what we’ve learned about eco-responsibility through using Lean principles. Our hope is to get everyone in a supply chain operating on the same page so they too can realize the benefits…We’ve lowered overhead and increased cash flow which we’ve re-invested back into the company.”

 said Roger Kipp, vice president of marketing and engineering for McClarin Plastics in Hanover, PA

Suniva Solar announced the establishment of a factory in the Atlanta area that could bring in 100 new jobs. Made possible by 50 million dollars of second round investing and the expectation of “$10 million in revenues this year and will be profitable next year with $100 million in sales.”

According to, Georgia beat out several states, who were offering big incentives. I guess the fact that Suniva was founded at Georgia Tech’s Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics gave the state a bit of a home advantage. expanded on the Lieberman Warner bill and gave some interesting points about why it might actually just be congress creating a tax hike in order to create projects in their home states. Initially, I hopped on the ‘Bush is missing the environmental boat again’ bandwagon but it will

“represent the largest tax increase in U.S. History.”

The country is pretty much on hold until a new President is inaugurated so this debate might be just a discussion to get a better sense for what our best options are.







Two green manufacturing stories caught my eye this morning.

The first is the plan for a ‘Center for Green Technology at University of Toledo’ that was published yesterday.

“The proposed Great Lakes Center for Green Technology Manufacturing would help develop and commercialize renewable energy manufacturing processes, materials, and infrastructure,”

Senator Brown (D Ohio) said in a statement.


A provision in the Lieberman-Warner Global Warming Bill will fund the construction of the ‘Center’.However, President Bush has assured that he will veto the Bill if it gets to his desk.

There is strong support throughout Ohio for building the Center in hopes that Toledo can further their reputation since they are “already recognized as the solar manufacturing center of the U.S., and are hard at work developing wind, water, ethanol and bio-diesel clusters,” according to Toledo Mayor, Finkbeiner.

Now the second story, this one published today, announced that Ford motor company has chosen an Ontario company to lead a project that will help them avoid the harmful emissions created by burning off paint during the automobile manufacturing process.

The project:

‘was stimulated by $100 million in funding for the Oakville complex through the Ontario government’s Automotive Investment Strategy. “That’s real forward-looking thinking,” Kit Edgworth, the head of the Fumes to Fuel Project, says. “If it weren’t for the government money, Ford would have probably waited five years to embark on this project. And then it might have been located elsewhere.” ‘

The project, if it works, will turn the burned off chemicals from the painting process into fuel for the factory.

Personally, I can understand how the Lieberman-Warner Global Warming Bill can be considered a “costly bureaucracy and drive up the cost of coal-based energy without first making alternatives available,” as described by Sen. George Voinovich (R Ohio) but these stories came out one after another.

Ford, one of the largest manufacturers in America, is using a fast moving Canadian funded research team to reuse fumes as fuel, while at the same time a bill that could build a Center for Green Manufacturing in Ohio is headed for a veto.

So…either the bill neds to be re-written with more attractive numbers or more support for the bill is needed to convince Bush to approve it.


Just watched a Bill McDonough video on youtube that highlights some important aspects of Cradle to Cradle, which can be related here. As he said, “He is in the business of making things.” So are we.

The video gives a basic idea of what the book was about; one youtube commenter said “no bother buying and reading the book, he summed it all up here.” There’s no substitute for reading the actual book but I kind of agree that he sums up the ideaas behind Cradle to Cradle and gets you to buy into his concepts in the 20 minute video.

He states that

Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safem healthy and just world, with clean air, water, soil and power- economically, equitably, ecologically, and elegantly enjoyed.

Such a great image that seems very possible, but comes with manufacturers consiously choosing a lifecyle for prducts that is sustainable.

Another point that he makes that was my facvotire part until I watched the city creation at the end was his description of the elegance of a tree,

Imagine this design assignment: Design something that makes oxegyn, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, accrues solar energy as fuel, makes complex sugars and food, creates micro climates, changes colors with the seasons and self replicates.

Now, why don’t we knock that down and write on it.”


He also points out that “Competition means strive together. Olympic athletes compete together in order to get fit together. Survival of the fittest can build a fit community.”

He created a city that you have to see to believe.

It’s worth it to watch from 17:44 on to watch the transformation of a field to a city. Completely sustainable and follows his ideas of cradle to cradle.





I finally watched The Story of Stuff, the 20 minute web movie about, well, The Story of Stuff. Maybe I’m the last person but I’m glad I finally took the time to watch it.

So informative and didn’t seem too lean to far to the green side of business. It really just laid out the reality that we only have one planet and we are using and wasting resources at an alarming rate. If not for our behavior just for the sheer number of people on the planet.

Obviously this affects manufacturing and it brings me back to the “Cradle to Cradle” concept, which is that we can’t have a linear production system. Part of green manufacturing is that the products that are produced must have a definite destination once they are done being used.

Since, as pointed out in The Story Of Stuff, we are a consumer society that thrives on using things for a while and then throwing them away, the manufacturing of the stuff must take this into consideration as well.

Once whatever you make heads to a consumer, where is its final resting place. In the Green Collar Economy, this question must be answered before it is even made. Will it be recycled? Will it be incinerated? Will it last for a long time? Was it made to last for a short time so that people buy more?

The true green manufacturers take this into consideration and ethics and corporate responibilty are critical points that sometimes conflict with the almighty dollar.

That’s why we’re working toward profitable sustainability

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart was written in 2002. Since I am a relative newcomer to the world of green manufacturing, I haven’t read the book yet, but in my research I have seen plenty of references to the book and its concepts. So many referances in fact that I get the sense that it is a must read. How can I comment on this topic without understanding the books principles better?

According to Cradle to Cradle:

“describes the hopeful, nature-inspired design principles that are making industry both prosperous and sustainable, the book itself is a physical symbol of the changes to come. It is printed on a synthetic ‘paper,’ made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged.”

Words about sustainable methods made by sustainable methods. While I support a book that strives to be eco friendly through and through, I have chosen to obtain it in an even greener fashion. I’ll borrow it for free from the public library near my house, and I’ll start reading it as soon as it is available. Then I’ll be able to pass on important principles for all my green manufacturing readers.



Happy Earth Day. I must say that the media blitz on the Green America lately cannot be avoided. The weather is nicer in most of the country and people are outside enjoying the fresh air. This season, this year, after this Earth Day will be one of the greatest tests of how serious Americans really are about environmental issues. A huge spike in eco awareness among our population could lead to a huge spike in alternative ways to deal with waste, energy, and personal decisions.


The manufacturing sector should be ready for the type of overhaul that will surely come in the next few years. The average American home will look different and the most glaring difference would be what today is called eco-friendly practices. The Green Collar Economy is a place where today’s eco friendly practices are commonplace. Automatic givens in every community.


Starwood hotels is working on an experimental earth friendly hotel where they try out the following green features:


Energy star appliances

Energy efficient light bulbs

water saving faucets and fixtures


Soap dispenser in the shower

Low toxicity paint

Wood bed frames from certified forests

Couch cusions made from soy

Recycle bins

Low toxicity paint

Recycled carpet


The first three save Starwood money and possibly even the consumer and some might argue that the soap dispenser saves money too. The rest are just sustainable ways to give us the things we need, including comfort and luxury. It also shows how its important not to waste anything. Manufacturers must take into consideration that almost everything can be recycled and lean practices have been leading the way to zero waste for years.


The final point I want to leave you with is that the above green features should and will be standard features in the average American home (and extended stay hotels) soon. Just make sure you reuse the out of date stuff in the right way.

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