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. "Waste equals food" is the first principle the book sets forth. Products might be designed so that, after their useful life, they provide nourishment for something new - either as "biological nutrients" that safely re-enter the environment or as "technical nutrients" that circulate within closed-loop industrial cycles without being "downcycled" into low-grade uses (as most "recyclables" now are).
Elaborating their principles from experience redesigning everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, the authors make an exciting and viable case for change.
©2002 William McDonough and Michael Braungart; (P)2008 Tantor
"An inspiring reminder that humans are capable of much more elegant environmental solutions than the ones we've settled for in the last half-century." (Publishers Weekly)
"A readable provocative treatise that 'gets outside the box' in a huge way. Timely and inspiring." (Kirkus)
McDonough and Braungart lay out a good case for designing products so that everything can be reused once the product is beyond its useful life. Moreover, they are big fans of upcycling rather than downcycling, which they explain well. Narration is solid.
I really like the concept of sustainability it is utterly important because we use brute-force on most processes. Think about electricity production using steam in nuclear & coal plants -- we use about 20% to produce the electricity and 80% of that heat get dissipated into the air and water. I think we can do better, and books like this help us open our minds to better ways of producing.
1 star for presenting a good idea. A lot of repetitive complaints about all the bad stuff in the world. Then a lot of wishing about what designers might do. Little substance and no practical advise to the average consumer.
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