Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things is a 2002 non-fiction book by German chemist Michael Braungart and U.S. architect William McDonough. It is a manifesto detailing how to achieve their Cradle to Cradle Design model. It calls for a radical change in industry: a switch from a cradle-to-grave pattern to a cradle-to-cradle pattern. It suggests that the “reduce reuse recycle” methods perpetuate this cradle-to-grave strategy, and that more changes need to be made. The book discourages downcycling, but rather encourages the manufacture of products with the goal of upcycling in mind. This vision of upcycling is based on a system of “lifecycle development” initiated by Braungart and colleagues at the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency in the 1990s: after products have reached the end of their useful life, they become either “biological nutrients” or “technical nutrients”. Biological nutrients are materials that can re-enter the environment. Technical nutrients are materials that remain within closed-loop industrial cycles.
The book uses historical examples such as the Industrial Revolution along with commentary on science, nature, and society.
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