Turning waste into wealth and learning how to value finite resources by recycling them pose a challenge for the 21st century. Pioneers and innovators are showing how this can be done and that it does not have to be a burden but instead a bounty of riches yet to be discovered. By respecting the planet’s resources and by not seeing waste but rather an opportunity to build wealth, human development can be increased without sacrificing the world. As living standards improve and people increase their consumption of products, it becomes critical that those products are produced in a way that does not poison the environment or damage human health.
On these pages, SI shows how thinking about the production cycle can radically alter the relationship with resources. By turning away from just using and discarding and also by moving further ahead from the reduce, reuse and recycle approach, it is possible to take another approach – cradle to cradle – that radically demands that people think about designing every product and process so that nothing is wasted and all things always find their way back into the earth as a non-toxic by-product or back into the production cycle to be turned into a new good again.