Perlmutter Associates' Featured Publications...

City of Boston Zero Waste Recommendations, 2019


In this project, I put together a team of experts from around the country to help the City and its Zero Waste Advisory Committee identify and chose policies and programs to reach Zero Waste: creating less trash, and diverting more materials from disposal through repair, reuse, compost, and recycling. The northeast is way behind the west coast in embracing Zero Waste, and this was a wonderful opportunity help change that in my own backyard. Our team evaluated city’s current waste management practices and identified best practices from around the world.  Based on this information, the Advisory Committee made recommendations to the Mayor for 30 initiatives the City could undertake to become a Zero Waste City, meaning diverting 90% of its waste from disposal.  These recommendations fall into the categories of reducing and reusing, recycling more, increasing composting, and inspiring innovation. We also provided the City with case studies and lessons on how several leading Zero Waste cities are educating their residents and business-people, and ways the city can include Zero Waste in its economic development strategy--both of which are personal passions of mine.  More background information, recordings of the public meetings, and presentations from the meetings can be found on the City’s website.​​

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  • Zero Waste Plan

  • Suggested Economic Development Approaches

  • Case Studies on Zero Waste Outreach and Education

Advancing Safer Chemicals In Products; The Key Role of Purchasing, 2015


Information abounds about how and why to purchase more environmentally sustainable products, including those that are less toxic. However, little has been written about how purchasing agents can drive, and are driving, the creation of products that are less toxic. I convened and facilitated an advisory committee of public and private sector experts in environmental purchasing, read lots and lots of literature and purchasing guides, and interviewed leaders in the field! The resulting report identifies why purchasing safer products is important, how purchasers can help drive the creation of more products with safer chemistries, and the pros and cons of product certifications. It contains six case studies of leading-edge public and private organizations that are purchasing less toxic products, and contains a list of resources. It is always important to me to create something that builds on the good work of others and fills a needed gap; I believe that this document achieved that. It was commissioned by the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, and was done with the support of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, The Responsible Purchasing Network, and the Green Electronics Council.

  • Advancing Safer Chemicals In Products; The Key Role of Purchasing

An Agenda to Mainstream Green Chemistry, 2015


The Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) wanted to identify ways to make green chemistry become mainstream practice, which is the mission of the organization. There was a lot written about barriers and opportunities to advance green chemistry, yet we still have so many toxic products and processes. For this project (as with all my projects), I wanted to add add value, move the conversation forward, and lead to action-- not just repackage what had already been written. I facilitated an advisory committee made up of GC3 business members that met over the course of two years. I read literature, interviewed a lot of people, facilitated meetings of GC3 members and others, and developed a report that, among other things, recommends five strategies that can lead to  all chemistry becoming green chemistry. This document has helped informed the organization’s activities and strategic planning, and has been used and referenced by others inside and outside of the organization.

  • An Agenda to Mainstream Green Chemistry

Implementation Recommendations for Recycling and Jobs in Massachusetts:

A Study of Current and Future Workforce Needs, 2013


This report was a follow-on to the report “Recycling and Jobs in Massachusetts: A Study of Current and Future Workforce Needs” (below). As always, I like to talk to the experts and bring people together to bounce ideas off of each other, so I convened and facilitated a taskforce comprised of people in the recycling industry and government workforce development practitioners. The goal of this work was to identify ways that these two groups could work together more effectively to identify and fill workforce training needs. The process gave the workforce development professionals more insight into how the recycling industry worked, and showed that there are gaps in the understanding of the recycling industry about services that workforce development professionals could provide them. The report includes recommendations to address these needs and gaps. The project was funded by SkillWorks, through the Northeast Recycling Council.

  • Implementation Recommendations for Recycling and Jobs in Massachusetts: A Study of Current and Future Workforce Needs

Recycling and Jobs in Massachusetts, A Study of Current and Future Workforce Needs, 2012

This project was referred to me by my friend and colleague, Kevin Doyle.  It was interesting to me because, while I had been previously involved in studies of the economic impacts of the recycling industry, this focused on the specific numbers and types of jobs that might be in demand going forward. It looked into experiences of companies and workers, and near-future trends. Its purpose was to understand whether the Massachusetts’ recycling industry employment was growing or contracting, quantify the number and type of existing jobs and project future ones, understand factors influencing growth and contraction, and provide information to workforce development programs that would help them develop training to match industry needs. Working with Green LMI, JFY NetWorks, and Green Economy, a sampling of recycling companies was surveyed to find out their workforce challenges and needs. A separate focus group was also held with recycling workers to identify how they found their jobs and whether the fact that it was in the recycling or environmental field mattered. The research was funded by SkillWorks and MassDEP, with support from the Environmental Business Council of New England and MassRecycle.

  • Recycling and Jobs in Massachusetts, A Study of Current and Future Workforce Needs

Clean Tech: An Agenda for a Healthy Economy- How Massachusetts Can be the Center of Clean Technology Innovations that Serve the World, December, 2007

I particularly loved this project because it tapped into my passion for greener economic development, and it allowed me to talk to and learn from a lot of different people.  The purpose was to look at how Massachusetts can orient its economic development approach to encompass all kinds of clean technologies and make it the hub of clean tech innovation and adoption. Massachusetts was doing a good job of supporting clean energy technologies, but the Commonwealth had potential to lead in other clean technologies as well, which were largely being ignored. I was hired by the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production to develop the project approach, which involved research, interviews, facilitation of an advisory committee as well as of a series of focus groups on different topics as well as in different regions of the state, and writing the reports: interim findings and recommendations, a final report, and policy recommendations. The project identifies five areas of clean tech where the state had leadership (materials reuse, green buildings, certain advanced materials, clean energy, and green chemistry), and provides overarching policy recommendations on clean tech economic development strategies, and specific ones for each of the five technology areas. By creating a comprehensive clean tech economic development strategy that crossed existing environmental silos, synergies would be created that would further support and grow these industries. While the recommendations were not implemented, they did get a fair amount of attention and I think the recommendations are still timely, especially with the interest in the Green New Deal. 

  • Clean Tech: An Agenda for a Healthy Economy

  • Clean Tech Policy Recommendations

  • Clean Tech: Initial Report on ‘An Agenda for a Healthy Economy'

Articles/Op Eds...

Five Strategies to Accelerate Green Chemistry 

GreenBiz, March 7, 2016

“The Rise of the Non-Toxic Buyer: 6 Case Studies on Safer Chemistry.”

GreenBiz  November 12, 2015


Charting a Path to Make Green Chemistry Mainstream

GreenBiz. April 3, 2015


Timberland, Seventh Generation Take Green Chemistry Mainstream.

With Monica Becker. GreenBiz. January 10, 2014

Recycling Trash Still Beats Incineration 

Boston Globe Letter to the Editor, December, 2012

Recycling in New York 

New York Times Letter to the Editor,October, 2011


Recycling is Still Our Best Option 

Boston Globe Letter to the Editor, January 17, 2009 


A Place for Clean Technology

With Joel Ticker. Boston Globe Op Ed, October 6, 2008

In the News ...

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