My last blog entry left you with a teaser about one of my favorite books, It’s called Cradle to Cradle and it was written by Architect William McDonough and Chemist Michael Braungart. Right away when you open the book you realize something is a little off about the book itself.. Its not made of paper at all, it’s a plastic material that is infinitely recyclable as a book, the ink is non-toxic and also recyclable. Not to mention its waterproof so you can read in the pool! The physical format of the book lends itself to the books message. We need to rethink the way we make things!
Reduce, reuse, recycle,” urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. But as William McDonough and Michael Braungart argue in their book, this approach only perpetuates a one-way, “cradle to grave” manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic.
Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world? they ask. In fact, why not take nature itself as our model? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we do not consider its abundance wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective; hence, “waste equals food” is the first principle the book sets forth.
In the cradle to cradle model, all materials used in industrial or commercial processes—such as metals, fibers, dyes—fall into one of two categories: “technical” or “biological” nutrients. Technical nutrients are strictly limited to non-toxic, non-harmful synthetic materials that have no negative effects on the natural environment; they can be used in continuous cycles as the same product without losing their integrity or quality. In this manner these materials can be used over and over again instead of being “downcycled” into lesser products, ultimately becoming waste.
Biological Nutrients are organic materials that, once used, can be disposed of in any natural environment and decompose into the soil, providing food for small life forms without affecting the natural environment. This is dependent on the ecology of the region; for example, organic material from one country or landmass may be harmful to the ecology of another country or landmass.
Follow the link below to a great synopsis of the book (though I highly recommend finding it at the library or ordering it on amazon)
Hope you enjoyed learning about one of my absolute favorite books, I hope you get the opportunity to pick it up and read what it is all about.