We know the Earth provides plenty of resources, but we also know those resources are limited and are being depleted on a rapid scale, while production and consumption are rising rapidly in many nations. The production of waste is enormous. Waste disposal is currently an emergency in Italy, but the same applies on a much bigger scale to our whole planet.
How is it possible to manage fast-growing economies and high consumption rates in the face of dwindling raw materials and mountains of waste? An American designer and a German chemist think they have found a way. They mimick Nature, for whom waste is not a problem, but rather a resource for the biosphere - the idea being to apply the waste = food equation to a number of manufacturing industries, using waste products as raw materials to feed either the biosphere or the technosphere (as the authors suggest in their book From Cradle to Cradle).
Re-cycling seems to have become old fashioned, up-cycling is the new paradigm. High-quality manufacturing, economic growth and environmental protection can all be achieved in this way. The idea has been embraced not only by giants like Ford, Nike and Herman Miller, but even by fast-growing economies like China.
Is this idea going to spawn a new industrial revolution? That’s a difficult question. However, it is a good approach to a better, cleaner world.