Upcycling, Not Recycling

Greg Papadopoulos, Sun Microsystems

As William McDonough wrote in his book Cradle to Cradle, we should stop thinking of post-consumer goods as “waste”, and instead start thinking of them as “food” in the product chain – upcycling raw materials and turning them into useful raw materials, rather than just alleviating the burden offset by recycling. Sun Microsystems’ CTO Greg Papadopoulos looks at this challenge from the perspective of engineering, and encourages the technical and scientific sectors to think not in terms of product degradation, but to look at manufacturing and design in terms of disassembly and endless reuse.