Friday, June 27, 2008
Making the Circle Round
In a recent letter from the editor of Dwell magazine, great emphasis was placed on making design smarter. The editor stressed repeatedly to reconsider the manner in which things are conceived, produced, marketed, and, once their usefulness has expired, disposed of, or, hopefully, repurposed. This mentality represents a paradigm shift that seems to subtly be making its way into mainstream consciousness. Even the big box retailers are emphasizing their green business practices. Wal-Mart stores have begun putting solar panels on their roofs, in some locations.
I recently encountered an item that represents this new "Cradle to Cradle" approach. It was modest. It was humble. It was a candle. Atlanta-based candlemaker Paddywax offers a line of Eco candles which, while not singularly changing the world, provide a glimpse at what could be a new industrial revolution. The candles and their packaging utilize environmentally-friendly and post-consumer elements. The candles themselves are soy wax blended with natural oils. Their packaging is recyclable, as well as biodegradable. You can literally place soil and seeds in the container and plant it outside, fully extending the life of the packaging. The glass the candles are poured into has almost no labeling, allowing the vessel to go on to later hold additional candles or be re-assigned as a drinking glass or vase. There is absolutely no waste. Again, folks, I don't expect the world to be changed by a candle, but I do believe the world can be changed by the thinking and consideration involved in such a candle. Such conscientious craftsmanship heralds a return to inclusive thinking not witnessed in manufacturing in some time. Let's hope the momentum only builds.