The waste we discard does not disappear. That is impossible, because the Earth is a closed system. Our waste only seems invisible because we dilute it with water, cover it with earth or have the wind blow it away. But in the end, we cannot avoid encountering it again. In our drinking water, in the air we breathe, in our food and in our body. In this episode of Backlight, the designer William McDonough and the chemist Michael Braungart discuss the solution to this problem: the principle of Waste = Food.
An inspiring documentary on the Cradle to Cradle design concept of the chemist Michael Braungart and the architect William McDonough.
Man is the only creature that produces landfills. Natural resources are being depleted on a rapid scale while production and consumption are rising in nations like China and India. The waste production worldwide is enormous and if we do not do anything we will soon have turned all our resources into one big messy landfill. But there is hope. The German chemist Michael Braungart, and the American designer-architect William McDonough are fundamentally changing the way we produce and build. If waste would become food for the biosphere or the technosphere (all the technical products we make), production and consumption could become beneficial for the planet. A design and production concept that they call Cradle to Cradle. A concept that is seen as the next industrial revolution: design every product in such a way that at the end of its lifecycle the component materials become a new resource.
But also design buildings in such a way that they produce energy and become a friend to the environment. Large companies like Ford and Nike are working with McDonough and Braungart to change their production facilities and their products. They realize that economically wise, waste is a destruction of capital. You make something with no value. Based on their ideas the Chinese government is working towards a circular economy where Waste = Food. An amazing story that will definitely change your way of thinking about production and consumption.
This documentary won the Silver Dragon at the Beijing International Science Film Festival 2006.
Originally broadcasted by VPRO in 2007.
© VPRO Backlight June 2007
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Director: Rob van Hattum
Research: Gijs Meijer Swantee
Production: Karin Spiegel and Madeleine Somer
Editors in Chief: Doke Romeijn and Frank Wiering
English, French and Spanish subtitles: Ericsson.
French and Spanish subtitles are co-funded by European Union.