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Principle 3: Cradle to Cradle and Closing the Loop
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The 20th century industrial model follows a linear course -- what many people now call "cradle to grave" -- meaning that products we manufacture die when they're no longer useful to their owner, sent to a point of no return in a landfill somewhere. It's a model that epitomizes a wasteful and unsustainable system. In a sustainable industrial world, we take that fatal end point and reconnect it to the beginning, closing the loop and creating the possibility of reusing those dying industrial ingredients to manufacture a new generation of useful items. Instead of a linear "cradle to grave" model, we now have a cyclical "cradle to cradle" model.

In their book, Cradle to Cradle, William McDonough and Michael Braungart illustrate the potential of closed loop manufacturing to bring about a new industrial revolution, free of waste and pollution, which promises a sustainable material civilization. It's an idea that's been widely adopted by sustainable designers and architects, developed into certification criteria for sustainable products, and used as a clear and basic teaching tool for comparing the practices we need to leave behind with the ones that can carry us well into the future.

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Cradle to Cradle Design and Intelligent Materials Pooling

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Comments

William McDonough's Cradle to Cradle speech at TEDTalks '06 is available here.


Posted by: Mike Simons on 9 May 07

For a thorough explanation of the cradle to cradle idea, check out this podcast with William McDonough on Social Innovation Conversations:

http://www.siconversations.org/shows/detail1142.html


Posted by: Babette on 9 May 07

Also, their is a TED talk on Cradle to Cradle. Just go to TED.com and search "cradle to cradle". Very interesting and fantastic lateral thinking!


Posted by: Mitch on 9 May 07

Cradle to cradle is also the way nature works and the basis for most human activity since we first walked upright. The linear phase in history is a glitch but a serious one that can be corrected only by a deep reform of capitalism. The basic problem is that there is no charge from nature for waste. This can be corrected with a new form of economic instrument based on a simple variation of insurance, to prevent problems rather than pay for them afterwards. I'm happy to send my peer-reviewed paper on this. See www.blindspot.org.uk. Or May 2007 issue of Journal of Cleaner Production.


Posted by: James Greyson on 11 May 07



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