Andrew K.'s Reviews > Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough
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Dec 25, 11

bookshelves: environmentalism
Read in December, 2011

Pretty much as advertised -- a screed (in a good way) against the normal cradle-to-grave paradigm of consumerism and short-sighted product design. For instance: Isn't it funny that in, say, apple juice boxes, the product inside has a shorter shelf life than the packaging? Why would the packaging be more durable than its product? Wouldn't it be cool if packaging was designed to be tossed into your yard, decompose in weeks, and maybe even contain a wildflower seed that would germinate?

Cradle to Cradle is also a scary book (in a good way) about all the chemicals that go into everything we buy. There's this thing called "off-gassing" where they test what chemicals a normal product (a spatula, an iPod speaker, a sneaker sole) gives off as it's used and knocked around. Turns out that as products decompose a bit, their chemicals get into our food and indoor air, and that kind of poisoning generally isn't prohibited or regulated. Or if it is, it's at the chemical level -- there's a "bad list" of proven carcinogens, instead of a good list of chemicals known to be safe.

I agree now: Every product should come with an ingredients list -- so you know if you're buying toxic and carcinogenic chemicals when you buy, say, an extension cord. The more you know.

Read this book, if only to freak you out (in a good way).

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