I work in a particularly faddish field. technology prides itself on bigger faster replacing what came before. in that way we are no different than fashion. i was just at my parents digging for some thing i had stored at their place and found boxes of floppy disks from multiple generations. they still have utility but barely. is progress the accumulation of the past.
it's got me wondering could we create new technology to reuse the old technology. is there resurrection technology to infuse new life in to the old. a '57 Chevy and '67 Mustang in mint condition, is there a way to make a '81 PC more than landfill?
There is a movement (perhaps, too strong a word) spearheaded by O'reilly's Make Magazine that specializes in presenting ideas to repurpose products for new uses. Often the products are new, but they can be old too. There is a blog on Make Culture that has some funny things.
Some of the unexpected items that are reused can lead to some stunning results. I'm not a handbag person (can't you tell), but I can imagine getting this of a handbag made of old candy wrappers.
The Wall Street Journal in an article on green gifts describes it as:
Made from repurposed candy wrappers, this handbag from Ecoist is nearly sold out at organicavenue.com, $98. But similar bags are available.
Not quite cradle to cradle, but still a culture of imagination in the items around us. It's what makes great cooks is that they see new ways to use common ingredients, the same applies here.