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Mr. BUZZELLI (continuing). Integrated pest management is a tool that needs to be used in agriculture, and is beginning to be adopted. A few years ago if we talked about no-till farming most farmers would get up and leave the room. Today when you talk about notill farming in the Midwest, for example, you will find many, many people beginning to practice it. It reduces trips across the field, reduces soil erosion, and there's a beginning and awareness.
So, the fact is that I believe that there is a place for chemistry in food production. It's changing, and going to continue to change. I don't think it will be the same as it was 15 or 20 years ago, and it is going to change. It is going to improve as education begins to improve.
I think something that was said earlier is very important. I think there is a role for education of the public that really possibly all of us including the government haven't played a significant enough role in. Because sometimes quite frankly the perceptions about the environment just simply aren't true, and we have got an educational role to play to make sure that people understand what the facts are, and in some cases what the choices and options are and to learn more about risk and risk communication and risk analysis.
Mr. VALENTINE. The gentleman from Maryland. I will stay out of your business.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much.
This life-cycle analysis, I used to feel that bottles ought to be returned and washed. Now, I understand that it's just less harmful to the environment if you crush the bottles and do whatever you do to them rather than pick them up and pay all of the environmental penalties of the exhaust from the trucks and the hot water and chemicals that are washing the bottles. And that always seems a little strange to me that it was environmentally and economically cheaper to make a new bottle than it was to wash the one you had. So I think we really do need some analysis.
The next thing I wanted to explore was a kind of a conflict that we have, and that conflict is represented by the two ends of the table. As Mr. Imhoff is more successful in getting organically grown materials, your stockholders are less happy.
I use lots of other things other than agricultural, and the thing I wanted to ask about, and this really relates to the clothing industry, when I had another life in the real world, I would go to our county dump, and more times than I would like to think of backed up to the dump there was the Goodwill truck. What they were dumping out was just truckloads of clothing that was given to the Goodwill. And
so very clearly a way to have less pollution is just to waste less. The clothes that you make will probably still be quite wearable in 10 years. You are going to make them out of style in 10 years with your advertising and the anticipation of the buyer so they will long ago have discarded those and probably three or four other garments to the Goodwill that are now going to be thrown in the dump.
How do we clearly the simplest way to produce less pollution is simply to use less, and everywhere in our society we could do that. But as soon as you do that now you clearly have an economical impact. How do we balance these things?
The economy says you have got to use more and throw it away so that we can make some more to sell you. How do we balance those two things?
Mr. BUZZELLI. Can I take a crack at that? Because I think there is a common myth that in an industry such as mine that conservation works negatively against our industry. In fact, we have got many, many examples of where it doesn't.
A few years ago we got into developing recycled plastic resins, and I can remember the first time that it was suggested there was at least a few folks said, “Why would I want to get into recycled plastic resin because that will reduce our resin sales, our plastics for Dow?" In fact, today we have a full line of recycled products in our plas
a tics business and those plastics have value to our customers. They demand them and they are willing to pay for them.
And what's happening, in an industry like ours, and the chemical industry is really an enabling industry for other companies, like theirs and others, the fact is that the paradigm of growth in our industry, economic development in our industry is changed. It is no longer more pounds are better next year than this year. That isn't where the growth has to come from. The growth has to come from new services and new types of products where environmental opportunities exist.
We have a couple of examples today where we are renting chemicals, if I can use that term, instead of selling them, where we a customer of ours buys a product, we take it back, reconstitute it and sell it again. They are willing to pay us for that service.
It's less pounds of material that we are ultimately selling. But the fact is the returns and the profitability are there. The real key in my mind is to get some of the industries like the chemical industry and heavy manufacturers to begin to focus on environmental opportunity instead of always thinking of the environment as a major problem.
The fact is there is a terrific amount of opportunity in the environment because in the end it's the consumer and the consumer pull-through, whether it's a pull through Mr. Imhoff's industry and then that pulls through mine or not.
Solving it is not all negative. In fact, there are some big positives in this game.
Mr. BARTLETT. But you can only sell more plastic if somebody else is using more plastic.
Mr. BUZZELLI. Well, but we are selling less in many cases because people are reusing it, and that doesn't bother us because we can get into the loop of providing that service of recycling plastic.
Mr. BARTLETT. Okay. So the recycling compensates for the less plastic that is sold.
Mr. BUZZELLI. We are going to become far more of a–in the future, far more than a supplier of pounds, it will be viewed more as a supplier of services to a customer.
Mr. BARTLETT. The last thing I would like to just mention and that is I am a farmer. I have lived on a farm all my life. The farmer is now being blamed for nonpoint source pollution. And I will tell you there is no farmer I know that wants his pesticide to show up in the Chesapeake Bay. And he doesn't want his fertilizer to show
up in the Chesapeake Bay. He wants the crop to use all of the fertilizer and he wants the pesticides, every bit of it, to kill bugs.
And what the farmer really needs is better techniques. And, if we are going to provide a service to the farmer, it's not penalizing him for growing food and fiber as economically as he grows it, and we do the best job in the world in this country. What we need to do is to show the farmer how to use fertilizer so it doesn't end up in the bay, and how to use insecticides, if in fact he needs to use either one.
And I happen to be a proponent of organic farming and I just think that that can grow. Whether it can ever totally replace the other, I am not sure. But to the extent it grows, we are lessening pollution and I think that's great.
Well, again I want to commend you for being an excellent panel. As I said before, when I started I've listened to no other panel that wanted so small a place at the public trough. Congratulations!
Mr. VALENTINE. Well, I thank the distinguished gentleman for that observation and for many others. He's a very valuable member of this subcommittee. I mean that sincerely.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you, sir.
Mr. VALENTINE. And I would also like to remind the gentleman that it was the wonderful staff that we have here that selected these people to come and testify.
And with that I would like to say for the record that our colleague Mr. Grams request permission to submit questions to witnesses. Without objection, so ordered.
And there may be other Members who will want to submit questions. If that doesn't become an impossible burden, we would appreciate it if you would respond.
And let me for all the members of the subcommittee thank you again for your appearance here. It's been very, very helpful. With that the subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:42 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.)
David H. Marks
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
To the US House of Representatives
November 18, 1993
10:30 am to 12:30 PM Rayburn House Office Building
November 18, 1993
I am pleased to have this opportunity to address the Subcommittee on the National
Initiatives in Green Technologies-Legislative Proposals. At MIT, I am an educator of two
different types of students: Those who are preparing for careers as environmental
professionals and those whose professional decisions in technology, management and
policy will have a great impact on the environment. We have done a good job of educating the former (about 5% of MIT students) for over 100 years. We are just now learning and
experimenting with new curricula, subjects, modules, internships in industry and new
methods of analysis to educate the other 95%. This is a critical transition as future sustainable development will depend on the knowledge, experiences, methods and attitudes of all our graduates. It is important that the educational portion of the proposed legislation learn from some of the difficulties introduced in this transition such as disciplinary
boundary barriers, the lack of critical interdisciplinary research and the lack of awareness of
the need for students to understand the social, economic and political context of their technologic and scientific studies. I would like to respond to the questions put to me by the
Subcommittee as follows: