MBDC is happy to introduce Tobias Muellers as our newest Environmental Chemist. Prior to recently joining the MBDC team, Tobias completed an internship with MBDC and was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. We sat down to ask him how his experience with Cradle to Cradle Design™, which started as an undergraduate, has shaped his way of thinking about sustainability and design.
How does your time studying chemistry at Williams College align with the work you are doing now?
As an undergraduate my interests slowly gravitated more and more towards environmental chemistry. When I was a junior at Williams I began working on a project to test for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) using a new instrument that the College had just purchased that year. The goal of this endeavor was to prepare our chemistry department to test for PFOA in samples taken from nearby Bennington, Vermont. Bennington had recently discovered that there were significant levels of PFOA in residents’ well water, and given that PFOA was linked to various forms of cancer and other negative health effects, we wanted to be able to measure PFOA levels in a variety of substances.
How did this project shape your outlook on Safe then Circular design?
Over the course of two years I continued with this project — preparing our lab to measure PFOA in the parts-per-trillion range (one drop of something in an Olympic-size swimming pool) in soil and plants. As I learned more about PFOA, I began to understand that not all products around me were designed to be safe. In fact, many were not.
Is this what led you to learning more about Cradle to Cradle Design™?
While I was creating procedures to test for PFOA during my senior fall I was assigned to read Cradle to Cradle: Remaking The Way We Make Things in one of my environmental science classes. Understanding just how much damage the cradle-to-grave paradigm can do, I was hooked on the ideas put forth by this book. I was so taken by the idea of circularity and responsible nutrient cycling that I decided to see if I could work at MBDC. After a long email exchange, and a few jobs in between, I’m overjoyed to be working at a place where I can help companies as they work to transition to the Cradle to Cradle Design paradigm.
Anything else you would like people to know?
When I’m not at work I enjoy running, hiking, biking, baking, reading, and general adventuring. I’m also from Burlington, Vermont.
Interested in learning more about Cradle to Cradle Design™? Contact us!