Thursday, January 20, 2011


"I was tired of working hard to be less bad. I wanted to be involved in making buildings, even products, with completely positive intentions."
-William McDonough

Yesterday, I watched an interesting documentary called Waste=Food, which explained the Cradle to Cradle design concept, created by William McDonough (an architect) and Michael Braungart (a chemist). The idea behind the Cradle to Cradle concept is that a normal life cycle is composed of cradle (where it began or where it came from) to grave (what the finished product is and when is it no longer used), but what happens to the products after we use them? They end up in a landfill or end up being reused for another product....but is that really helping our environment? McDonough uses a plastic water bottle as an example what really recycling is; when a bottle is recycled, it is taken apart and reused for another product, such as plastic wood boards...but what happens when the plastic wood is not longer needed? It is usually burned down to be reused, which emits chemicals into the atmosphere. (I bet you won't look at a plastic bottle the same again!) He explains this is more or less decycling, rather than recycling. Their solution to a more green environment is to use materials that really have no life cycle; it is continuous. For example, a textile company using natural fibers, rather than synthetic, and non-chemical dyes for their materials. With the scraps of the materials, they can be combined to form a type of wool material for farmers to cover crops, such as strawberries. This provides not only nutrients for the food, but a productive way to get rid of waste. For interior design, this means that spaces can be renovated more often, due to the fact that it helps the earth, rather than harms it. This can also mean that buildings will be created more efficiently in terms lighting and insulation through the use of green roofs and natural lighting, thereby increasing worker productivity and satisfaction in the workplace. It's a win-win why don't we do this now?

More info on Cradle to Cradle:

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