Blog post based on the book Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.
Recently, I decided to read the book Cradle to Cradle. I had encounter the subject before while doing an internship in New York City, but I had never read the entire book, I only looked at the process of obtaining the Cradle to Cradle Certification.
I found the book really interesting, as it challenged my views on sustainability, recycling and environment. First off, lets define Cradle to Cradle: It models nature's industry on nature's process in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy safe metabolism. Basically, Cradle to Cradle is an economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not only efficient but essentially waste free.
One of my favorite parts of the book is the discussion about recycling:
Recycling as we know it might not be the best option to save the planet. Most recycling is actually down-cycling, because it reduce the quality of the material over time. For example, when different types of plastic are recycled together, they are mixed and produce a hybrid of lower quality and the same thing is also true for metal. Also recycling (or down-cycling) can increase the contamination of the biosphere. For example, paint and plastic that are melted into recycled steel contain harmful chemicals. According to the book, paper requires extensive bleaching and other chemical processes to make it blank again for reuse. it also mentions that some people have developed allergies to newspapers, which are often made from recycled paper.
It made me wonder about the actual value of recycling and reconsidered its importance. The book stresses that being less bad is not the solution for our planet and suggests eco-effectiveness is a better approach.
Products can be certified Cradle to Cradle. The certification criteria can be found at: