There is a growing trend among a range of manufacturing companies of designing furniture, carpet and other office furnishings so that parts can be recycled several times and manufactured in ways less harmful to the environment.  The author points to architect William McDonough and his chemist partner Michael Braungart as leaders of the movement and their 2002 book, “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things” is identified as the manifesto for the “green” industrial designers.

The U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington D.C. nonprofit coalition of builders, manufacturers and public agencies promoting energy-efficient buildings estimates that $5.8 billion was spent on green buildings in 2004, a 34 percent increase over 2003.

The article gives readers a number of examples of companies that are in the forefront of this movement.  There is office furniture manufacturer Steelcase, that buys wood for desks from farms practicing sustainable harvesting techniques. Steelcase’s “Think” chair can be disassembled with basic hand tools and its parts recycled.  Another example cited is Shaw Industries, the biggest carpet manufacturer in the U.S., whose entire $150 million a year carpet tile business consists of material that can be recycled.

Source: Rebecca Smith, Asian Wall Street Journal; Mar 4, 2005

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