Summary of The Upcycle

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The Upcycle book summary


8 Overall

9 Importance

8 Innovation

8 Style


William McDonough and Michael Braungart share the same depressing data as other environmental scientists and thought leaders, but they have a unique perspective on the world’s ecological problems. While well-intentioned innovators concentrate on “zero emission” design, McDonough and Braungart up the ante – they believe design can have zero impact on the Earth and even reverse past damage. They encourage readers to view themselves not as destructive parasites but as creative partners with the Earth. Their fascinating overview offers successful examples of how innovators who see design from a new perspective create ecologically helpful products. Even if this book slightly echoes the authors’ earlier Cradle to Cradle, a refresher course does no harm. It may well inspire you to reach higher and reconsider your approach to everyday ecology. getAbstract recommends these radical insights to activists, designers, policymakers, manufacturers and nonprofit workers concerned with global ecology.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why ethical design matters,
  • How innovations, creativity and common sense can reverse negative environmental trends, and
  • How some manufacturers create products that are good for the Earth.

About the Authors

William McDonough and Michael Braungart co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, which explains “The Hannover Principles.”



“The Design Solution”
Pollution isn’t the real problem behind the Earth’s environmental woes. The true culprit is flawed design. If people created products more thoughtfully, they wouldn’t have to worry about pollution or shortages. Designers with full ecological awareness can create products...

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By the same authors

  • Cradle to Cradle

    William McDonough and Michael Braungart

    North Point Press, 2002


Contained in Knowledge Pack:

  • Knowledge Pack
    The newest commercial advantage is good for business and for Mother Earth: how to go green for fun and profit.

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