In William McDonough's book, "Cradle to Cradle", written with his colleague, the German chemist Michael Braungart, Mc Donough lays down a manifesto calling for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design. McDonough and Braungart make the case that an industrial system that "takes, makes and wastes" can become a creator of goods and services that generate ecological, social and economic value.
In the Cradle to Cradle model, all materials used in industrial or commercial processes--such as metals, fabrics, dyes--are seen to fall into one of two categories: "technical" or "biological" nutrients. Technical nutrients are strictly limited to non-toxic, non-harmful synthetic materials that have no negative effects on the natural environment; they can be used in continuous cycles as the same product without losing their integrity or quality. In this manner these materials can be used over and over again instead of being "Downcycled" into lesser products, ultimately becoming waste. Biological Nutrients are organic materials that, once used, can be disposed of in any natural environment and decompose into the soil, providing food for small life forms without affecting the natural environment. This is dependent on the ecology of the region; for example, organic material from one country or landmass may be harmful to the ecology of another country or landmass