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Gary M. Petersen

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Gary Petersen has been called "one of the United States pioneers of recycling and resource conservation and himself an example of a new type of entrepreneur called an "ecopreneur.'"[1] He is a partner at the consulting firm Environmental Problem Solving Enterprises, Chairman of the Board of Green Seal, and Co-Chair of the Corporate Board of the Environmental Media Association.[2] In the past, Peterson was Waste Management Vice President and Director of Environment Affairs for Recycle America In this role, he "was instrumental in the company becoming the largest recycler in the U.S. Having been involved in the greening of the White House, Petersen is a recognized expert in environmental sustainability."[3]

Petersen got his start in the recycling business in 1972 when he founded the business Ecolo-Haul. According to a 1990 article:[4]

"The year was 1972 -- July 7, 1972, to be precise -- when Petersen revved up the van and went door-to-door in his hometown of Santa Monica in an effort to obtain peoples' trash and sell it for profit.
"The 18 years since then have seen Petersen, 42, go from being one of the first recyclers in Southern California to one of the most successful for-profit recyclers and environmental consultants in the United States, if not the world.
"Today, Petersen is a clean-cut, bespectacled -- and wealthy -- businessman. His recycling company, Ecolo-haul, was acquired two years ago by Waste Management Inc., the nation's largest trash handler, for about $2 million. He tools around in a white Porsche 911 convertible. He lives with his wife and two children in Pacific Palisades when he is not traveling the world preaching the gospel of recycling."

Career

Petersen was founder and president of Ecolo-Haul Recycling Services, "one of the nation first companies to specialize in curbside collection and drop-off and buy-back centers," from 1972 to 1988.[5] According to a 1995 article:[6]

"Ecolo-Haul, later acquired by Waste Management Inc., one of the WMX family of companies, was both an operational success and a teaching "workshop" for many waste management professionals across the U.S. and internationally. A look at the global scope of Ecolo-Haul's efforts illustrates why companies like WMX are viewed as likely candidates for continued expansion and relocation activities well into the next century: Besides their domestic activities. Petersen and Ecolo-Haul provided technical assistance to agencies, staff and corporations from Great Britain, Canada, the People's Republic of China, Israel, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Chile, and Mexico.
"The continued growth of this "new" industry actually has a decades-long foundation. For example, Ecolo-Haul dates back to 1972, and as far back as 1980 Petersen founded Cal-Coast Recycling, a recycling buy-back center...
"Three years later Petersen founded the American Recycling Trading Co., specializing in recycling equipment and commodities trading. He subsequently co-founded Recycling Technology Specialists, a company that manufactured and distributed dome-shaped fiberglass recycling collection containers, and Eco-Source International, a non-profit ecological educational organization (he currently chairs its advisory board)."

Petersen went to Waste Management when it purchased Ecolo-Haul in 1998 and remained there as vice president for WMX's Waste Management of California Inc. and director environmental affairs for Recycle America, Western Group, until 1997. According to a 1995 article:[7]

"In his position at Waste Management Inc., Petersen has responsibilities in the governmental and public affairs arenas, guiding the Waste Management teams in design and implementation of municipal and industrial recycling programs for cities across the nation. Additionally, Petersen's expertise in market development is utilized fully by Waste Management as the recycling industry focuses on the economics or processing, manufacturing and creating new products and markets for the post-consumer materials collected in all recycling programs. He has also been one of the creators and designers of the on-going Recycling and Waste Management Certificate program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), serves an the advisory board of its Hazardous and Toxic Waste Certification program, and was the lead instructor for four years for "Recycling Design, Operations and Materials Marketing" at UCLA, a technical and policy-oriented program for city planners, activists, engineers and other working professionals. He serves an the advisory board of 27 environmental organizations and is a task force member of the "Greening of the White House" project in Washington, D.C. The task force is charged with recommending and implementing recycling, source reduction, conservation and procurement policies, procedures and services that will make the White House and its staff ecologically and environmentally sound."

Another source says of his work at Waste Management:[8]

"As Vice President for Waste Management/Recycle America, he guided the design and implementation of municipal and industrial recycling programs throughout the U.S. His expertise in processing, manufacturing and creating new products and markets for post-consumer materials positioned them to become the largest recycling company in the world."

In 1997, Petersen assumed his role as president of Environmental Problem Solving Enterprises, "a consulting firm working with private sector infrastructure to address critical environmental problems. EPS has worked with a wide range of corporate and government clients including BP Solar, Arco/BP Amoco/Western States Petroleum Association, the Playa Vista Development in Los Angeles and Los Angeles City Hall."[9] Additionally, he was chairman of BioConverter from 2001 to 2004 and remained managing partner of the firm after leaving his role as chairman.

In 2005, when he was appointed by CA Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger to the now-defunct California Integrated Waste Management Board, an announcement of the appointment said:[10]

"He is a member of the task force for the Greening of the White House, is chairman of the board of Green Seal, is the co-founder of the California Resource Recovery Association and is a founding member of the National Recycling Coalition. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $117,818. Petersen is registered decline-to-state."

In addition to serving on the task force for the Greening of the White House, Petersen also served on the task force for the Greening of the United Nations.[11] In 2006, Petersen also became a consultant to Solucorp Industries, Ltd to work on "heavy metals remediation solution which removes mercury from coal fired power plant emissions." Petersen is also on the advisory board of Pac Pacific Group Int'l.[12] In 2011, Petersen was considered a leading candidate to become director of the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).[13]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Bob Howard, "A growth industry for our time: Demand mushrooms for recycling and related environmental services," Orange County Business Journal, February 27, 1995, Vol 18; No 9; Sec 2; pg 22.
  2. Green Seal website, Accessed April 21, 2011.
  3. Gary M. Petersen, Chairman of Green Seal and Pioneering Recycler, and Robert H. Sulnick, Environmental Lawyer, Signed as Consultants to Solucorp Industries, Ltd, October 12, 2006, Accessed April 21, 2011.
  4. Josh Meyer, TRASH RECYCLING: IT'S THE LAW NOW IN L.A.; HE STARTED IT ALL IN HIS BEAT-UP VW VAN," Los Angeles Times, January 5, 1990, Metro; Part B; Page 1; Column 5; Metro Desk.
  5. Bob Howard, "A growth industry for our time: Demand mushrooms for recycling and related environmental services," Orange County Business Journal, February 27, 1995, Vol 18; No 9; Sec 2; pg 22.
  6. Bob Howard, "A growth industry for our time: Demand mushrooms for recycling and related environmental services," Orange County Business Journal, February 27, 1995, Vol 18; No 9; Sec 2; pg 22.
  7. Bob Howard, "A growth industry for our time: Demand mushrooms for recycling and related environmental services," Orange County Business Journal, February 27, 1995, Vol 18; No 9; Sec 2; pg 22.
  8. Pac Pacific website, Accessed April 21, 2011.
  9. Pac Pacific website, Accessed April 21, 2011.
  10. "GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS," US Fed News, July 22, 2005, Accessed April 21, 2011.
  11. Pac Pacific website, Accessed April 21, 2011.
  12. Pac Pacific Group Int'l Team, Accessed April 21, 2011.
  13. "RECYCLING ADVOCATES VIE WITH OTHERS FOR WASTE DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR," Inside Cal/EPA, Vol. 22 No. 6, February 11, 2011, Accessed April 21, 2011.

External resources

External articles

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