A blog post entitled Eco-Week: From the Cradle to the Grave hit my twitter inbox this morning, based upon the green things occuring at EcoBuild in London. The blog post from Rob Cameron is very good, making the point that we need to go back to source with our eco-zeal. (Something I am chasing: product suppliers who can track their footprint back to raw material sources, manufacture and transport. Requests to EcoBuild, have at the moment drawn a blank)
But having read Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart some time ago, I now cringe at seeing the expression cradle to grave used in any building ‘eco’ context. Maybe it is because we have the cradle to grave mentality that we are in such a wasteful, enviro, sustaina-babble mess.
We make things, we use things, we still throw things away. Our current approaches to waste management and sustainability is just to slow down the process before the things we make end up in landfill – through reusing and recycling .
Needing to focus on the cradle not the grave
The premise of Cradle to Cradle (at least my interpretation) is to rethink the way we make things, so that after use things already have a new, hopefully higher value, purpose as the cradle to something new. It draws the parallel with nature where there is no waste, but as nature decomposes it becomes the food for the next iteration of ‘life’
We need to focus on designing, engineering and managing out waste so that remnents of a construction process or project or of demolition becomes the food for the next evolution of buildings or facilities.
In fact there is a taxonomy issue at play here. We refer to all ‘that stuff’ left over after construction or demolition as waste. Lets really go for zero waste and get rid of the word waste in this context and go for 100% food, 100% rebuild
Further, related links: