Industrial Ecology: U.S.-Japan Perspectives

DEANNA J. RICHARDS AND ANN B. FULLERTON, Editors

Report on the U.S.-Japan Workshop on Industrial Ecology, held March 1–3, 1993, in Irvine, California

NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C. 1994



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Industrial Ecology: U.S.-Japan Perspectives Industrial Ecology: U.S.-Japan Perspectives DEANNA J. RICHARDS AND ANN B. FULLERTON, Editors Report on the U.S.-Japan Workshop on Industrial Ecology, held March 1–3, 1993, in Irvine, California NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1994

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Industrial Ecology: U.S.-Japan Perspectives NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. This publication has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a National Academy of Engineering report review process. Funding for this effort was provided by the W. M. Keck Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences . All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Cover art: Integrated Islands of Automation, courtesy of the artist, Loraine Armenti, Natick, Massachusetts.

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Industrial Ecology: U.S.-Japan Perspectives Preface Environmental issues are the domain of no single region or country; many of them are global. Issues that are common to many countries or are inherently regional or global require collaboration among and between countries, and they require a common framework enabling comparisons and cooperative approaches. The emerging field of industrial ecology offers such a promising framework. Based on an analogy with natural ecosystems, industrial ecology provides a multidisciplinary, systemsbased approach to addressing environmental impacts of producer and consumer activities. Using this framework the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) convened a three-day U.S.-Japan Workshop on Industrial Ecology in March 1993. Given the broad scope of the subject matter, the workshop was not intended to provide an exhaustive treatment of the topic. The purpose was to exchange information, assess promising technological approaches and management strategies to be harnessed for environmental and economic benefit, and identify potential areas of collaboration. The goal of industrial ecology is to enhance the efficiency with which materials and energy are used and thereby improve pollution control. An analogy can be drawn between the “nutrients” in ecological systems and the material flows in industrial systems. The analogy suggests the need for better linkages in the web of industrial activities analogous to the nutrient web in ecological systems. Improved linkages can help optimize materials use and minimize waste. The workshop illustrated that despite the many contrasts between the United States and Japan, the technological approaches to environmental concerns are strikingly similar. These similarities were evident in case studies of automobile recycling efforts and strategies in the energy sectors. Both countries are exploring the use of industrial ecology to address environmental issues, although there are subtle differences in use of terminology and possible approaches to furthering the field. On behalf of the Academy, I wish to thank the chairmen, Robert Frosch and Michiyuki Uenohara, and the workshop participants for the valuable analyses, expositions, and insights they provided. Special thanks also go to Ann Fullerton for her diligent assistance in preparing the report. I would also like to thank the NAE staff members who worked on this project. Deanna Richards, who heads the NAE's Technology and Environment Program, was primarily responsible. Marion Roberts provided critical administrative and logistical support for the project and additional support was provided by Maribeth Keitz. Bruce Guile, director of the NAE Program Office, and Dale Langford, the NAE's editor, also deserve thanks for their efforts, particularly in preparing this report for publication. Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the W. M. Keck Foundation for its support of this project and to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for support of related elements of the Academy's Technology and Environment Program. Robert M. White President

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