January 09, 2010
I just read this fantastic book, and I wanted to share some thoughts. The book is Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart. They propose a new industrial system which accounts for the entire life cycle of a product down to the molecule. Their idea is basically that products should be designed and built from the get-go so that their components and materials can be easily separated and recycled into equally useful materials (vs. the current, system, what they call "downcycling"). You can read more about it here - I recommend reading the book, which isn't even made of paper.
The book got me thinking hard about 3bags and how their methods could be applied. I don't pretend that the materials I use are recyclable in the Cradle to Cradle way - I don't think such a material exists yet (if it does, let me know!). What I do get out of my materials is durability - and lots of it. Cordura lasts. It's strong, abrasion resistant and water resistant. A raw edge won't even fray easily. I've designed my bags with long lasting durability in mind. I want the bag to last and be versatile and functional enough that it remains useful for years and years. I do still worry about what happens when the bag is no longer useful, and after reading Cradle to Cradle I've started working on this problem. Here are some of my ideas:
I haven't put any of these ideas into practice yet outside of my own prototypes, but I thought I'd share them. If you have any suggestions or thoughts, I would love to hear them.