Born Bronx NY 1938, Shimer JHS, Stuyvesant HS, Queens College Chem BS, Yale University PhD Phys. Chem.; Taught in Ankara Turkey two years, published a record called Turkish Music which was accompanied by my booklet which was the most complete overview of Turkish music in English (and probably even in Turkish); founded a Turkish textile export company for three years (employing 50 women in a town); Folklore Dept. at Indiana Univ, Ms Folklore.; Moved to Berkeley California 1972; Founded Zero Waste Systems Inc. 1973 (first public use in the world of the now common term Zero Waste); worked at reusing industrial chemical byproducts for 25 years (only such company in the world for much of the time); distilled experience into my book Getting To Zero Waste in 2005; published The Death of Recycling in the Rachel Journal 2007; founded Zero Waste Institute in 2007
Areas of Expertise
Industrial Redesign for Zero Waste, Industrial Chemical Reuse
An idea worth spreading
Zero Waste is the third generation in designing for the efficient use of resources. First concept was garbage, use it once then discard or burn everything, first idea for improvement in the 1970's was recycling - still discard everything but do a last minute scramble to recover some low level component (recycling was taken over by the garbage industry); finally, the most sophisticated form of resource efficiency is to design all industrial and commercial processes from the start to not allow for any waste or discard.
Recycling has spread around the world but it is an extremely inefficient and wasteful approach, which does not deserve the accolades it gets. It has become a form of greenwashing. Redesign in the form of Zero Waste has made recycling obsolete.
We do not live in a closed system (because of energy flow from the sun). Waste is not unavoidable. The Second Law does not apply, garbage generation is an historically imposed insanity..
I'm passionate about
Dancing, all kinds (balkan, Turkish, cajun, country western); elevating thinking from recycling to redesign i.e. Zero Waste
Talk to me about
How to spread the Zero Waste concept as a superior replacement for the world obsession with recycling. Recycling is not a proper way to think about wastes.
People don't know I'm good at
I have designed many Zero Waste products which need to be the focus of a new business. Contact me about starting a green manufacturing business (not just hype - the real thing).
My TED story
See above under An Idea Worth Spreading.