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Cradle to Cradle: Environmentalism Moves Beyond Recycling

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William McDonough is an environmentalist who practices what he preaches.

In his new book, "Cradle to Cradle," McDonough argues that even recycling is a wasteful and damaging process. For example to "recycle" most books, one would have to bleach out the ink on each page, a costly process that would result in harmful byproducts. But McDonough's book is printed not on paper, but on waterproof fiber, with non-toxic ink that can be easily removed.

McDonough argues that the environmentalists' mantra of "reduce, reuse, recycle" only perpetuates the "cradle-to-grave" model of consumption that ultimately leads to waste. Whether or not that aluminum can or newspaper is used once or a few times, it eventually ends up in a landfill. McDonough urges us to completely rethink the way we manufacture our products, in order to create goods that can truly be reused and not wasted.

This hour, William McDonough challenges the very foundations of industrialization and environmentalism with his new model of production and conservation.


William McDonough, co-author of "Cradle to Cradle", architect and founding principal of William McDonough + Partners, Architecture and Community Design

This program aired on May 14, 2002.


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