Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, 2002
Short read about how everyone could do better in their product design. In our disposable culture, we’re used to throwing things away after use. At best, we recycle. This book points out the waste of this approach. Throwing away traps useful minerals and materials in a landfill. Recycling typically means down-cycling, whereby a product is turned into something less useful after recycling (think about how recycled paper is never fully white and thus is not as useful for reading). The book’s authors argue that with upfront thought, designers could craft products that are beneficial both during use and after use has ended. If the remnants of the product are easily turned into a new product, then the product is more environmentally responsible, more useful, and more sustainable. Luckily, these benefits can often be obtained at a lower cost than traditional manufacturing, though some significant design insight may be necessary.
The book’s title, Cradle to Cradle, alludes to a circular product world (a closed-loop supply chain) instead of the more typical and linear Cradle to Grave.
I listened to this book from my library via the hoopla app while on my way home from the POMS conference.