Earth Consultants

Applying Lean Six Sigma to the Environment

EC 017: Applying Lean and Green at Plywerk with Kjell Van Zoen and David Hall

3 min read


In this podcast, I conduct my first interview, and it turned out great!

I met up with lean consultant and former owner of Plywerk, Kjell Van Zoen, along with Dr. David E. Hall, sustainability consultant for Plywerk and professor at Portland State University. We discuss how Kjell and Dave worked together to make Plywerk more eco-conscious, and how Kjell connected lean concepts, systems thinking and permaculture into those efforts.

We talk about the following topics:

  • Introductions and backgrounds
  • Sustainability vs Eco-conscious
  • Patagonia
  • The Natural Step framework
  • Replacement for bubble wrap
  • Switch from plywood to bamboo
  • Biomimicry and wood glue
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification
  • Which is better, shipping bamboo from China or trucking bamboo from within the US?
  • Eco-conscious freezer paper experiments
  • The Gold Mine book
  • Lean and Green tours
  • Permaculture Principles
  • Employee engagement
    • Bike commuting tracker system
    • Employee bike and walking incentives
    • Recycling program
  • Culture of Collaboration workshops
  • Plywerk Manifesto
  • Taiichi Ohno
  • MLK Volunteer Day
  • Changing and influencing vendors after Lean and Green transformation
  • FSC vs SFI wood certification
  • What happened to Plywerk?
  • Next steps for Dave and Kjell
  • The green economy and the Trump administration

This interview is 90 minutes long, but I feel it will be worth your time to listen to the whole thing.

If you’d like to contact Kjell Van Zoen, you can reach him at

If you’d like to contact David Hall, you can reach him on LinkedIn

I’d like to hear your feedback on this interview. Is this something you’d like me to do more of? What were your key takeaways?


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