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Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; 1st edition (April 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865475873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865475878
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Paper or plastic? Neither, say William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Why settle for the least harmful alternative when we could have something that is better--say, edible grocery bags! In Cradle to Cradle, the authors present a manifesto calling for a new industrial revolution, one that would render both traditional manufacturing and traditional environmentalism obsolete. Recycling, for instance, is actually "downcycling," creating hybrids of biological and technical "nutrients" which are then unrecoverable and unusable. The authors, an architect and a chemist, want to eliminate the concept of waste altogether, while preserving commerce and allowing for human nature. They offer several compelling examples of corporations that are not just doing less harm--they're actually doing some good for the environment and their neighborhoods, and making more money in the process. Cradle to Cradle is a refreshing change from the intractable environmental conflicts that dominate headlines. It's a handbook for 21st-century innovation and should be required reading for business hotshots and environmental activists. --Therese Littleton

From Publishers Weekly

Environmentalists are normally the last people to be called shortsighted, yet that's essentially what architect McDonough and chemist Braungart contend in this clarion call for a new kind of ecological consciousness. The authors are partners in an industrial design firm that devises environmentally sound buildings, equipment and products. They argue that conventional, expensive eco-efficiency measures things like recycling or emissions reduction are inadequate for protecting the long-term health of the planet. Our industrial products are simply not designed with environmental safety in mind; there's no way to reclaim the natural resources they use or fully prevent ecosystem damage, and mitigating the damage is at best a stop-gap measure. What the authors propose in this clear, accessible manifesto is a new approach they've dubbed "eco-effectiveness": designing from the ground up for both eco-safety and cost efficiency. They cite examples from their own work, like rooftops covered with soil and plants that serve as natural insulation; nontoxic dyes and fabrics; their current overhaul of Ford's legendary River Rouge factory; and the book itself, which will be printed on a synthetic "paper" that doesn't use trees. Because profitability is a requirement of the designs, the thinking goes, they appeal to business owners and obviate the need for regulatory apparatus. These shimmery visions can sound too good to be true, and the book is sometimes frustratingly short on specifics, particularly when it comes to questions of public policy and the political interests that might oppose widespread implementation of these designs. Still, the authors' original concepts are 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.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This is a fantastic book that I would recommend reading by everyone, including students in high school.
Janet Moore
Recycling for many products is really a process of downcycling - a term coined by Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart in their book Cradle to Cradle.
Vittorio N. Galasso
This book challenges us to think up new ways of designing everything and truly making no bad impact on the earth.
Es Pritchard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

339 of 365 people found the following review helpful By David C N Swanson on April 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This doesn't feel like a book - literally. It's a different size and shape, the pages are thick, the thing feels significantly heavier than it looks, and it's waterproof.
The design of the book is making a point also made in the text of the book: the current state of recycling generally turns higher quality products into lower quality ones useful only for purposes other than the original product, and then eventually discards them. This is not recycling; it's slow motion waste.
"Cradle to Cradle," the object, is intended to be easily and completely recyclable into a new book of the same quality.
"Cradle to cradle," the phrase, is contrasted to "cradle to grave."
"Cradle to Cradle," the text, argues in favor of making all human productions either recyclable in the way this book is or completely biodegradable so that they can be used as fertilizer.
In the future envisioned and partially created and described by this pair of authors, packaging will be tossed on the ground in response to signs reading "Please litter!" Appliances will be leased and returned to manufacturers to be completely recycled. Objects that must contain both biodegradable and inorganic recyclable elements will be easily separable into those respective parts: you'll toss the soles of your shoes into the garden and give the uppers back to the shoemaker. And the water coming out of factories will be cleaner than what came in, motivating the factory owners to reuse it and eliminating the need for the government to test its toxicity.
These authors teemed up on the 1991 Hannover Principles to guide the design of the 2000 World's Fair. McDonough has an architecture firm in Charlottesville, Va.
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101 of 110 people found the following review helpful By "michaeleve" on April 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Proof that our technologically advanced, high-consumption industrial system can make environmentally sound and sustainable products. We can manufacture a whole range of goods that are ecologically efficient in that they reduce waste and yet are less expensive to make than traditionally manufactured items. Pick up CRADLE TO CRADLE and the proof is right there in your hands. "This book is not a tree" the authors tell us. Its slightly heavier than your average paperback, the pages are whiter and they're also waterproof (I took the authors word on that one and am happy to say I was able to read on). The pages are made from plastic resins and fillers and in keeping with the message of "eliminating waste", the book is 100% recyclable.
McDonough and Braungart's vision of "Remaking the Way We Make Things" goes way beyond books. Why not buildings that produce more energy than they consume? Or "green" roofs that give off oxygen while cooling the occupants? How about factories that produce drinkable effluent? or products that when their useful life is over can be used as nutrients for soil? What sounds like science fiction is convincingly shown to be quite feasible by the authors. They offer numerous examples to prove it.
"We see a world of abundance, not limits" they say. As an architect (McDonough) and chemist (Braungart) they don't have any special qualifications for this re-thinking and re-doing. What they simply have done is re-imagine the whole manufacturing process beginning with the design elements. Sometimes it's simply a matter of asking the right questions and looking at things differently. They are not talking about smaller-scale industry or limiting themselves to the "four R's" of traditional environmentalism - reuse, recycle, reduce, and regulate.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
I can't think of another book that so obviously practices what it preaches as _Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things_ (North Point Press) by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Books are usually printed on a fairly high grade of paper (compared to, say, that used in newspapers), paper which everyone knows comes from cutting down pretty and naturally useful trees. The paper is printed with inks that have heavy metals and other chemicals in them. You can recycle a book, but those chemicals get to be part of the mess, and are expensive to remove. Anyway, you don't really recycle it, you _down_cycle it (the authors' term), because the paper in it can only be bleached and chemically treated to turn it into a lower grade of paper, such as for newspapers. And newspapers can be turned into toilet paper, in further downcycling. _Cradle to Cradle_ is about breaking out of such "cycles" and into real cycles. It has smooth, bright white pages that are heavy, like the paper in the best books. They are not, however, paper in the usual sense, although you probably wouldn't notice the difference unless your attention was called to it. They are made of plastic resins and inorganic fillers. Although the pages are designed to last as long as any paper book, these pages can be recycled by conventional means to make more paper of equal quality. They might even be _up_cycled into resins of greater complexity and utility. The ink on them can be easily removed by a safe solvent bath, or washing with extremely hot water, and does not contain dangerous chemicals.
The authors, one an architect and one a chemist, created McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry in 1995, to consult with companies about designing sustaining products and factories.
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