Book Report I: Cradle to Cradle

"The book is still the greatest manmade machine of all - not the car, not the TV, not the smartphone." 
Ken Burns, 2016 

In our Book Report series, we'd like to introduce ourselves via our bookshelf and share the books that most shape our diplomacy. First up: Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. 

This book inspired me to become a designer. I read it during my first Christmas break in university, and declared myself a Product Design major on the first day back. It’s shaped how I think as a maker more than any other book, and it’s the policy playbook for us at Polar Embassy. We bought our copy from Curious Fox Books in Berlin.

Hand holding Cradle to Cradle book in front of a Berlin bookstore.

Braungart, a chemist, and McDonough, an architect, argue that “waste equals food” in this manifesto for the circular economy. A product’s materials may outlast its use, but don't have to be considered waste. Instead of designing products from “cradle to grave,” “cradle to cradle” thinking pushes us to design beyond a single lifecycle, to many. The book itself is made from plastic resin and inorganic fillers, which makes it infinitely recyclable as a “technical nutrient” for its next applications. It’s a thoughtful object that puts the ideas it contains into practice.

Waterproof symbol on a green book.

Polar Embassy develops products following the campsite rule: leaving our surroundings better off than we found them. Club Tarot, our first product, is made by a printer that meets the Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute’s Silver standards on material health, product circularity, clean air and climate protection, water and soil stewardship, and social fairness. 

Our tarot cards are completely and harmlessly biodegradable, meaning they’ll make some worms very happy one day. Do you have a cheeky idea for a life they can have between cards and soil? Send them to us via Instagram!

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