William McDonough has done some interest work on new materials.
In this lecture given at the Center for Social Innovation, McDonough urges his audience of Stanford business students to think beyond the reduction of business externalities when designing industrial and commercial processes, services or products. The goal shouldn’t be to do the wrong thing less badly but to do the right thing. McDonough compares our relationship with the environment to the relationship of a couple. It better be more than just sustainable.
He offered part of a new strategy by outlining the fundamental design principles used at his firm, MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry), when creating everything from non-toxic fabrics to new soles for running shoes that leave nutrients in the soil instead of neurotoxins. Among these fundamentals, based on the fecundity and effectiveness of natural systems, are:
- Waste equals food
- Use current solar income
- Celebrate diversity
The strategy leads to the design of substances that are not simply recycled, but are designed from the outset to be completely reused.