Industrial Evolution

Cradle to cradle, closed loop, upcycle, recycle—whatever you call it, the paradigm has shifted in the business of making stuff. Everyone from furniture makers to tech creators to textile artists is focusing on effective design, environmental impact, and material conservation. Companies are creating products that can be used again and again or that will simply expire without a trace at the end of their lifetime. And many have implemented take-back programs, recapturing used items from consumers and integrating them into new products. The following nine examples represent what many see as the brighter future of industrial production.

By Jessica Tzerman

Compute This
Dell’s newly unveiled, bamboo-encased Studio Hybrid computer is 81 percent smaller than a standard desktop, uses 70 percent less power, and incorporates recycled bottles and detergent cases into its packaging. and when you decide to upgrade, Dell will either recycle the old machine or donate it to the National Cristina Foundation, an organization that benefits disabled and economically disadvantaged kids and adults.
$649, including optional bamboo slipcover,

Back to the Earth

Verterra derives its name from the Latin phrase for true to the earth, and its products reflect that philosophy. This dinnerware collection is made from compostable plant matter (think fallen leaves) and water, pressed into single-use plates, bowls, cups, and platters by South Asian workers who receive a fair living wage.
Starting at $8.99 for a set of 10,

Diaper Changes

Everyday in the US, 50 million disposable diapers go into landfills, where they will languish for, oh, about 500 years. By contrast, these certified–Cradle to Cradle diapers, the only ones on the market, consist of a cool-looking reusable outer pant and a plastic-free refill that you can compost, flush, or trash.
$26.99 for a starter kit,

What a Croc!
Last year, footwear maker Crocs launched Soles United, a take-back program that gives back, too. Not only does the company recycle worn out Crocs along with the factory scraps, but it also turns the material into new shoes to donate to people in need in places like Zimbabwe and Malawi. The company has donated more than one million pairs so far and hopes to double that number this year.
$30 for traditional beach model shown,

Signed, Resealed—Delivers
With eco-envelopes, snail mail gets a second chance. Recipients just peel off their address patch from the front of the envelope, which is made from post-consumer recycled waste and paper from sustainably managed forests. Then write in the new outgoing address and use the adhesive strip on the back (it comes with two) to reseal. for information

Phone Home
With Nokia’s futuristic N93i phone, you can shoot up to 90 minutes of video, create slideshows, and burn DVDs—remarkable when you remember that it’s a phone. Thanks to the transparent eco-declarations the company prepares for its products, users can be sure the device is RoHS-compliant, PVC-free, and Energy Star–certified. Plus, Nokia recycles all of its phones, batteries, and chargers through its nationwide Nokia Cares program.

Pillow Talk
A staunch supporter of sustainable farming and manufacturing, Looolo Textiles proves that great home design and eco-consciousness can coexist. Every pillow and blanket is made from certified-organic materials free of chemicals and hazardous by-products, and will break down fully in a composter within one year (if you can ever bear to part with it). FYI: A new line of kids’ toys is coming soon.
$190–230, Janthur pillow; $500, Honeycomb blanket;

Chair Apparent

“While my conscience appreciates that Haworth’s Zody—the first task chair certified as Cradle to Cradle Gold—is made with 51 percent recycled materials and is 98 percent recyclable, the only thing my back cares about is the superior lumbar support. After spending ten hours a day for the last two weeks in the Zody, it’s easy to see why the American Physical Therapy Association endorsed it. This chair fits just right.”
—Alisa Opar, Senior Editor
about $699,

Issue 25

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