The information below and at the link is excellent stuff, but we have to get it into the mainstream; we have to stop speaking of it as green thinking, we have to engage the 99+% of small companies out there who do not understand this language.
Bill McDonough is in effect saying we have to continually improve the ‘quality’ of the products and services we consume by reducing the ‘loss to society’ resulting from their creation. These losses can be economic, social or environmental.
Bringing Green Design to the Mainstream
William McDonough, architect, designer, and author, has long been known for his work in sustainability. His 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, coauthored with Kenneth Michael Braungart, is a manifesto calling for the transformation of industry through green design.
McDonough and Braungart subsequently created a Cradle to Cradle Certification to identify products designed with what they call environmentally intelligent materials and processes.
I caught up with Bill McDonough recently in advance of his keynote presentation at this year’s Greener by Design Conference to talk about green product design, Cradle to Cradle thinking, and the role that Wal-Mart may play in leading the charge.
Joel Makower: Bill, one of the things you talked about is the fact that recycling or when we recycle, we’re simply recycling a lot of the problems that we’ve already created — and yet there’s opportunities to take some of the products in the waste stream and turn them into less toxic products. Tell me about that.
William McDonough: Well, if you look at the, you know, use of materials which are questionable like PVC or even PET in our water bottles that contains antimony as a residue from a catalytic reaction, we’re realizing these are suboptimal products in a Cradle to Cradle world where we would want everything safe and healthy by design. So, when we look at something like PVC, we say, “Well, why can’t we park that somewhere until we figure out what to do with it?” When we look at PET, we wonder why we can’t bring it back and actually scrub out the antimony and put it back into the marketplace refreshed and clean, so we’re essentially what we call up-cycling it. When we look at recycling, we see that typically things are either down-cycled and they’re losing quality in the process of being reused or they’re recycled and they come back in the same condition effectively or we can up-cycle things and actually purify them and clean them up on their way back through the cycles, so we’re excited about the prospect of up-cycling plastics…………………………………
complete interview at http://www.greenerdesign.com/podcast/2009/03/16/bringing-green-design-mainstream