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November 02, 2008


Joseph Laur

Nice write up Joel- thee truly are some exciting things going on with Waste Management and this whole field, and while it does beg the question of inefficiencies, nature herself is terrifically inefficient, the key difference is that all of nature's waste becomes food for other processes. Seems that WM is following this path to their next set of business goals- This alignment of business purpose and natural processes is the kind of new paradigm we need.

I invite you to post your blog on the Greenopolis site when you have a minute,




Informative and on-target, as always, Joel. But I wonder how many of your readers are astute (i.e. old) enough to appreciate the clever chiasmus your title nimbly portrays.

Just assuring you that some of us actually get you.

(ANSWER for the unenlightened, i.e. young: A well executed TV campaign ad for the United Negro College Fund in the 70s closed with the memorable line, "Because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.")

MikeD from Cleveland

Ribbons of value have been ubiquitous in the waste stream for generations and have now become rivers of opportunity. As a small start-up focused on panning for this new gold, it's inspiring to watch the industry at large transform itself. Innovation is not a dirty word...

Brooks Jordan

Loved this post on waste and what's happening at WM, thanks. I tweeted it for my Twitter network.

Since I was young, I've always been fascinated by waste - or, more specifically, the waste of this culture, this society, this time.

I'd love to be involved in a business that profits from the smart reduction and reuse of waste.

This post gives me some ideas.


Great article, just gave me an idea... Go to the junk yard and buy up all the catalytic converters and strip out the platinum. Well, it would have worked if platinum hadn't crashed in value in the last month or two. Again, great post, definitely gives me some hope for the future.


I believe he (Obama) needs to display “wisdom” and focus on the big 3. One may have to go down and the rise of a green player to replace the fallen may need to be his biggest move! If I was an advisor to President Obama, I would encourage him to not bailout anyone-else (excluding the middle class) and focus on transitioning from the traditional economic giants to investing in the new green giants! One of my own favorite quotes is:

“I happen to deeply agree with the wisdom of Tom Friedman (that we cannot consume of way out of this mess and “Have you ever been to a revolution where nobody gets hurt?”). The fact is that the current economic conditions will cause a lot of companies to close their doors (websites too), and they will die off altogether due to lack of understanding the competitive (innovative) landscape. Just look at Detroit and the Big 3 for example! Those that will fight to stay alive will need to figure out — What’s Next?

I believe that the New Green Economy will include the Rise of Green Real Estate Markets paired with the continued success of Cleantech, Clean Energy Markets, and large scale shifts toward Clean Transportation, and the Greening of the IT Industries (plus a fourth quarter of record investment!!), which will lead to a boom in “American Made” Green Collar Jobs and the creation of new wealth. The trick is: “who will get it right??” Execution makes all the difference for most of these opportunities and green investors need to pay more attention to the items that management claim they can achieve.” - Yeves Perez, Founder of EcoInvestmentClub.com - Nov 2008

See more on talk on Fast Company:


I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



David Biddle

Great piece Joel, although it's generally not resource efficient to try to capture energy from waste. Recycling, source reduction, and waste minimization are proven economic development opportunities. Incineration and even landfill gas recovery are not good answers at all to global warming in the long run...have you read "Stop Trashing the Climate?" Check it out at: http://www.stoptrashingtheclimate.org

However, it is ironic that you posted this piece when you did. As you were writing, the global recycling economy was tanking. Pretty much all major recycled commodities dropped 90% in value -- or more -- during the last week of October. You can read my letter to my members on this dilemma here:http://gpcrc.com/marketsletter08.asp

Thanks, though, for all your work on the waste equation. I look forward to reading your new book over the Christmas Holidays.

Dave at Pest Control Products

All this talk of waste and all the ways of dealing with it, don't seem to touch the service...There is rubbish everywhere and it's on the increase.

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