In McDonough's new book "The Upcycle," he and Michael Braungart think big about how we can remake society -- not to be less bad but to be really good.
In 2002, architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart shook up the world of sustainability with their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. It proposed a radical rethinking, not just of human manufacturing, but of the way humans relate to the earth. Rather than simply reducing the harm we do, humans could become a source of health, a positive force in the world.
"Upcycling is about increasing the quality as it goes to its next use. So, that water bottle. There is a residue in the bottle from a catalytic reaction involving very low levels of antimony, which is a heavy metal."
"Upcycling means that we’d get that bottle back and take out the antimony. It gets better. That’s what we mean by upcycling: the idea that things get better when humans touch them. They move to their next use. The book is about taking things and imagining what’s next for them: Could they be used by many generations safely? And if not, what if we improved it every time we touched it?"