Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  51 minutes
Date:  2007
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Waste = Food

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Based on the theories of William McDonough and Michael Braungart, major corporations embrace environmentally sustainable architecture and production in an ecologically-inspired industrial revolution.

Waste = Food

In a world where more and more societies with high consumption rates generate excessive amounts of waste, traditional environmental notions of reducing or recycling waste products are no longer sufficient. The new theory of ecologically intelligent design, green design and building, argues that manufacturers' products, when discarded, should either be completely recyclable in the Technosphere or become biodegradable food for the Biosphere.

WASTE = FOOD explores this revolutionary 'cradle to cradle' (as opposed to 'cradle to grave') concept through interviews with its leading proponents, American architect William McDonough and German ecological chemist Michael Braungart, coauthors of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Their ideas are increasingly being embraced by major corporations and governments worldwide, unleashing a new, ecologically-inspired industrial revolution.

The film shows how their 'intelligent product system,' utilizing completely non-toxic and sustainable production methods, has been adapted by major corporations, visiting a Swiss textile factory, a German clothing manufacturer, the Nike shoe headquarters, a U.S. furniture manufacturer, the Ford Motor Company, and a government housing project in China. The manufacturers discuss the concept of 'eco-effectiveness,' designing for eco-safety as well as cost efficiency, in their respective industries.

WASTE = FOOD also illustrates McDonough's environmentally sound architectural designs, where buildings function like trees, and become part of nature rather than conflict with it, including his designs for Ford's new River Rouge plant, a GreenHouse factory for the Herman Miller company, and a model village in rural China.

'An exciting introduction to the work of American architect/designer William McDonough and German ecological chemist Michael Braungart, who may well be starting a new industrial revolution.' The Flaming Grasshopper

'Well-written... This documentary will be of interest to environmentalists, social scientists, chemists, architects and business people. McDonough and Braungart demonstrate how the 'what if' questions and the resolve to do more than just 'sustain' the environment lead to very creative, efficient and effective ways to eradicate waste.' -Janis Tyhurst, Educational Media Reviews Online


** 2007 International Science Film Festival, Athens
** Silver Dragon, 2006 Beijing International Science Film Festival
** 2006 International Documentary Festival Amsterdam


Main credits

Hattum, Rob van (Director)
Somer, Madeleine (Producer)
Spiegel, Karin (Producer)

Other credits

Camera, Niels van 't Hoff; filmcutting, Jetoen van den Berk.

Distributor credits

A Film by Rob van Hattum

Docuseek2 subjects

Environmental Design
Sustainable Architecture

Distributor subjects

Business and Economics
Carbon Footprint


William McDonough; Michael Braungart; Waste = Food; Waste equals food; sustainable; architecture; documentary; film; video; DVD; green design; green building; carbon footprint; community development; natural and manmade materials; Green Design; Green Building; ; "Waste = Food"; Icarus Films;

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