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Bringing littering to the masses

James Surowiecki's latest column in the New Yorker concerns William McDonough's vision for environmentally-friendly products, which he believes could be either completely biodegradable or completely reusable. And, Surowiecki reports,

McDonough hasn't simply imagined these products; he has started to make them. A new fabric that he created for Designtex, which Lufthansa is testing for airplane seat cushions, is free of poisonous dyes and fibres; you can eat it, if you like. He thinks we'll soon have an ice-cream container that biodegrades in a matter of hours. "It's fun to just throw stuff away," he says. "You could put 'Please litter' on the wrappers." The pages of "Cradle to Cradle" are made not of paper but of a new waterproof polymer that can be reused forever.

It sounds promising, especially because such products would create both new marketing opportunities and substantial cost savings for companies that invested in them. In other words, there's actually a chance they'd be used widely enough to make a difference.

May 1, 2002 1:55 PM

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