I found this PBN article somewhat shocking. It says that since 2006 Rhode Island's largest export has been waste and scrap. Yes everyone let me say that again. Rhode Islands largest export is waste and scrap. I am by no means an economic expert but to me there just seems something terrible wrong when waste and scrap is your biggest export. I would have guessed that our largest economic engine was tourism; which I guess is not really something you can export. There is probably a lot of economic theory and knowledge that I am lacking to fully understand this and to put it into perspective but this would be a very interesting discussion.
One thing I would add to such a discussion is the work of Ray Anderson CEO of Interface, an worldwide industrial carpeting company. Mr. Anderson about fifteen years ago came to the realization that his company which he personally founded was polluting the earth, was unsustaibile and that business are the biggest pollutes and the ones whith the most power to change that. He has since lead the company to reach the goal of being 100% sustainable. You can read about his effort in his book entitled "Confession of a Radical Industrialist". One thing he talks about his the company effort to reduce waste and how the saved signifigant money by doing so.
What ever your take on eviromental issues here is an example of reducing waste (and scrap) while increasing profits. So please help me to understand why waste and scrap is our top export?
Tourism has gone down quite a bit since the recession, so I wasn't terribly surprised by this article. Since RI does still do a great deal of manufacturing, a lot of scrap is generated from those manufactories; I used to work at a company in Johnston that bought and sold scrap metal, literally doing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business every day.
One of the interesting examples in Ray Anderson's book "Confession of a Radical Industrialist" was their success in reducing waste by better aligning their carpets before going into the cutters. Interface makes primarily carpet squares for business buildings and thus does a fair amount of cutting their carpets to size. And by a fairly simple and low cost pre-alignment they reduced their waste. Sounds great for the environment right. Reduced waste.
Realize though what this also means. By reducing waste there is more material to sell as furnished goods. And what is more valuable, more funished goods to sell to customers or waste sold? Actually is it both, increased profits and reduced waste.
If I could set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG it would be to reduce our (Rhode Island's) industrial waste in half in three years while increasing profits.
That's a fantastic idea. I like that.
On the same subject did you see the news that Hawaii has been plastic wrapping it's garbage and letting it stack up for almost a year. Too much trash! Now they are going to ship it to the main land. Like we need more stuff to polute our ground here!
Admittedly, we've got quite a bit more space than they do. Hawaii is pretty small.
So many things definitely have to change for the future here. This being the highest export is not good for this state. So much needs to happen for this state in the future. I hope to see it happen. financial counsel blog