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Cradle to Cradle Design

Cradle to Cradle Design

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Published by Tom Cotter
Cradle to Cradle Design (sometimes abbreviated to C2C or in some circles referred to as regenerative) is a biomimetic approach to the design of systems. It models human industry on nature's processes in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. It suggests that industry must protect and enrich ecosystems and nature's biological metabolism while also maintaining safe, productive technical metabolism for the high-quality use and circulation of organic and synthetic materials. Put simply, it is a holistic economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not just efficient but essentially waste free.[1] The model in its broadest sense is not limited to industrial design and manufacturing; it can be applied to many different aspects of human civilization such as urban environments, buildings, economics and social systems.

The term 'C2C Certification' is a protected term of the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) consultants. It is a proprietary system of certification. The phrase "Cradle to Cradle" itself was coined by Walter R. Stahel in the 1970s, and the current model is based on a system of "lifecycle development" initiated by Michael Braungart and colleagues at the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) in the 1990s and explored through the publication A Technical Framework for Life-Cycle Assessment. In partnership with Braungart, William McDonough released the publication Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things in 2002, which is an effective manifesto for Cradle to Cradle Design that gives specific details of how to achieve the model. The model has been implemented by a number of companies, organisations and governments around the world, predominantly in the U.S., the European Union and China. Cradle to Cradle has also been the subject matter of many documentary films, including the critically acclaimed Waste=Food.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_to_Cradle_Design
http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm
http://www.mbdc.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoRjz8iTVoo
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3058533428492266222#

Cradle to Cradle Design (sometimes abbreviated to C2C or in some circles referred to as regenerative) is a biomimetic approach to the design of systems. It models human industry on nature's processes in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. It suggests that industry must protect and enrich ecosystems and nature's biological metabolism while also maintaining safe, productive technical metabolism for the high-quality use and circulation of organic and synthetic materials. Put simply, it is a holistic economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not just efficient but essentially waste free.[1] The model in its broadest sense is not limited to industrial design and manufacturing; it can be applied to many different aspects of human civilization such as urban environments, buildings, economics and social systems.

The term 'C2C Certification' is a protected term of the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) consultants. It is a proprietary system of certification. The phrase "Cradle to Cradle" itself was coined by Walter R. Stahel in the 1970s, and the current model is based on a system of "lifecycle development" initiated by Michael Braungart and colleagues at the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) in the 1990s and explored through the publication A Technical Framework for Life-Cycle Assessment. In partnership with Braungart, William McDonough released the publication Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things in 2002, which is an effective manifesto for Cradle to Cradle Design that gives specific details of how to achieve the model. The model has been implemented by a number of companies, organisations and governments around the world, predominantly in the U.S., the European Union and China. Cradle to Cradle has also been the subject matter of many documentary films, including the critically acclaimed Waste=Food.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_to_Cradle_Design
http://www.mcdonough.com/cradle_to_cradle.htm
http://www.mbdc.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoRjz8iTVoo
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3058533428492266222#

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Tom Cotter on Aug 15, 2010
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Cradle-to-cradle design: creating healthy emissions
e
a strategy foreco-effective product and system design
Michael Braungart
a,b,c,
*, William McDonough
b,d
, Andrew Bollinger
c
a
University of Lu¨neburg, Suderburg, Germany
b
 McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, Charlottesville, VA, USA
c
 EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH, Hamburg, Germany
d
William McDonough and Partners Architecture and Community Design, Charlottesville, VA, USA
Available online 9 November 2006
Abstract
Eco-effectiveness and cradle-to-cradle design present an alternative design and production concept to the strategies of zero emission and eco-efficiency. Where eco-efficiency and zero emission seek to reduce the unintended negative consequences of processes of production and con-sumption, eco-effectiveness is a positive agenda for the conception and production of goods and services that incorporate social, economic, andenvironmental benefit, enabling triple top line growth.Eco-effectiveness moves beyond zero emission approaches by focusing on the development of products and industrial systems that maintainor enhance the quality and productivity of materials through subsequent life cycles. The concept of eco-effectiveness also addresses the majorshortcomings of eco-efficiency approaches: their inability to address the necessity for fundamental redesign of material flows, their inherentantagonism towards long-term economic growth and innovation, and their insufficiency in addressing toxicity issues.A central component of the eco-effectiveness concept, cradle-to-cradle design provides a practical design framework for creating productsand industrial systems in a positive relationship with ecological health and abundance, and long-term economic growth. Against this background,the transition to eco-effective industrial systems is a five-step process beginning with an elimination of undesirable substances and ultimatelycalling for a reinvention of products by reconsidering how they may optimally fulfill the need or needs for which they are actually intended whilesimultaneously being supportive of ecological and social systems.This process necessitates the creation of an eco-effective system of ‘‘nutrient’’ management to coordinate the material flows amongst actorsin the product system. The concept of intelligent materials pooling illustrates how such a system might take shape, in reality.
Ó
2006 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
 Keywords:
Eco-effectiveness; Cradle-to-cradle design; Intelligent materials pooling; Triple top line
The concept of 
eco-effectiveness
offers a positive alternativeto traditional eco-efficiency approaches for the development of healthy and environmentally benign products and product sys-tems. Eco-efficiency strategies focus on maintaining orincreasing the value of economic output while simultaneouslydecreasing the impact of economic activity upon ecologicalsystems[1]. Zero emission, as the ultimate extension of eco-efficiency, aims to provide maximal economic valuewith zero adverse ecological impact
d
a true decoupling of the relationship between economy and ecology.Eco-efficiency beginswith the assumption of a one-way,lin-ear flow of materials through industrial systems: raw materialsare extracted from the environment, transformed into productsand eventually disposed of. In this system, eco-efficient tech-niques seek only to minimize the volume, velocity and toxicityof the material flow system, but are incapable of altering itslinear progression. Some materials are recycled, but often asan end-of-pipe solution since these materials are not designedto be recycled. Instead of true recycling, this process is actually
* Corresponding author. Braungart Consulting, Osterstrasse 58, 20259Hamburg, Germany. Tel.:
þ
49 40 87 97 620; fax:
þ
49 40 87 97 62 26.
 E-mail address:
braungart@braungart.com(M. Braungart).0959-6526/$ - see front matter
Ó
2006 Published by Elsevier Ltd.doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2006.08.003Journal of Cleaner Production 15 (2007) 1337
e
 
downcycling
, a downgrade in material quality, which limits us-ability and maintains the linear, cradle-to-grave dynamic of thematerial flow system.In contrast to this approach of 
minimization
and
dematerial-ization
, the concept of 
eco-effectiveness
proposes the transfor-mation of products and their associated material flows suchthat they form a supportive relationship with ecological sys-tems and future economic growth. The goal is not to minimizethe cradle-to-grave flow of materials, but to generate cyclical,
cradle-to-cradle
‘‘metabolisms’’ that enable materials to main-tain their status as resources and accumulate intelligence overtime (
upcycling
). This inherently generates a
synergistic rela-tionship
between ecological and economic systems
d
a positive
recoupling
of the relationship between economy and ecology.
1. Eco-effectiveness and zero waste
The eco-effective approach contrasts with zero emissionstrategies in that it deals directly with the issue of maintaining(or upgrading) resource quality and productivity through manycycles of use, rather than seeking to eliminate waste. Thecharacteristic of zero waste (no production of negative side-products) arises as a natural side-effect of efforts to maintainthe status of materials as resources, but is not the focus of eco-effective strategies. The maintenance of a high level of qualityand productivity of resources is, by contrast, not necessarilya side effect of zero waste approaches.This difference in focus between the concepts of zero wasteand eco-effectiveness is reflected in the array of strategieswhich they employ. The zero waste concept encompassesa broad range of strategies including volume minimization, re-duced consumption, design for repair and durability and designfor recycling and reduced toxicity[2
e
4]. Whether changes aremade in product design, manufacturing processes, consumerbehavior or material flow logistics, reduction and minimizationremain a central component of the zero waste concept.In contrast to this, eco-effectiveness emphasizes strategiessuch as cradle-to-cradle design and intelligent materials pool-ing, which deal directly with the question of maintaining orupgrading the quality and productivity of material resources.Eco-effectiveness does not call for minimization of materialuse or prolonged product lifespan. In fact, it celebrates the cre-ative and extravagant application of materials and allows forshort product lifespans under the condition that all materialsretain their status as productive resources. Even the applica-tion of toxic materials is acceptable as long as it takes placein the context of a closed system of material flows and thequality of the material is maintained. In the context of eco-effectiveness, strategies of reduction and minimization arenot even steps in the right direction unless they contribute tothe ultimate aim of achieving cyclical material flow systemsthat maintain material quality and productivity over time.
2. Eco-efficiency: less bad is no good
Eco-efficiency is a broad concept that has been suppliedwith various definitions by a number of groups since itsinception in 1989. The World Business Council for Sustain-able Development originally defined eco-efficiency as ‘‘beingachieved by the delivery of competitively priced goods andservices that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life,while progressively reducing ecological impacts and resourceintensity throughout the life cycle to a level at least in line withthe earth’s carrying capacity’’[5].The Wuppertal Institute defines eco-efficiency as a ‘‘socialaction strategy’’ seeking to ‘‘reduce the use of materials in theeconomy in order to reduce undesirable environmental im-pacts
.
and produce a relatively higher degree of economicaffluence which is more fairly distributed’[6]. This morematerial-based and socially-oriented approach reflects themultitude of slightly varying definitions for the term ‘‘eco-efficiency’’.Table 1provides a sampling of these variations.Despite various definitions, the core of the eco-efficiencyconcept can generally be understood as
to get more fromless
: more product or service value with less waste, less re-source use or less toxicity. In this context: eco-efficiency canbe said (in the material realm) to encompass the concepts of:
e
Dematerialization
e
Increased resource productivity
e
Reduced toxicity
e
Increased recyclability (downcycling)
e
Extended product lifespanEach of these strategies starts with an assumption of thelinear, cradle-to-grave flow of materials through industrialsystems. They presuppose a system of production andconsumption that inevitably transforms resources into wasteand the Earth into a graveyard. Strategies of dematerializationand increased resource productivity seek to achieve a similaror greater level of product or service value with less materialinput[3,7].With cradle-to-grave material flows as a background, strat-egies for generating increased recyclability and extended prod-uct lifespan seek to prolong the period until resources acquirethe status of waste, for instance by increasing product durabil-ity or reprocessing post-use material for use in lower valueapplications. Though recycling strategies begin to approacheco-effectiveness, the large majority of recycling actually con-stitutes ‘‘downcycling’’ because the recycling process reducesthe quality of the materials, making them suitable for use onlyin lower value applications. Some materials still end up inlandfills or incinerators. Their lifespan has been prolonged,but their status as resources has not been maintained.Though some have commented that zero emissions cannotbe achieved through the practice of eco-efficiency[8], paral-lels certainly exist between eco-efficiency strategies and thezero emission concept. Both strategies concern themselves di-rectly and primarily with the reduction of waste, and neitherfocuses directly on the maintenance of resource quality andproductivity. This, however, is a necessary characteristic of eco-effective industrial systems.The mode of action of eco-efficiency strategies
d
reductionsin the quantities, velocities, and toxicities of the waste
1338
M. Braungart et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 15 (2007) 1337 
e
1348
 
stream
d
are not adequate solutions. Less bad is no good
d
todestroy less is not positive, as has been stated by the authorsbefore[19]. By extension of this point, with zero emissions asthe ultimate though unattainable target of eco-efficiency, ‘‘nobadisnotgoodeither,whencomparedtoeco-effectivesystemswhere the products and outputs are inherently positive.In the short-term, eco-efficiency strategies present the po-tential for tangible reductions in the ecological impact of a business’s activities and an opportunity for (sometimes sig-nificantly) reduced costs. In the long-term, however, they areinsufficient for achieving economic and environmental objec-tives on several accounts:1. Eco-efficiency is a reactionary approach that does notaddress the need for fundamental redesign of industrialmaterial flows.
Table 1Definitions of eco-efficiency from different sourcesSource DenitionAustralian Government Eco-efficiency is a management process that is designed to ‘produce more from less’. Eco-efficiency can beachieved by increasing mineral recovery, using fewer inputs such as energy and water, recycling more andreducing emissions
a
European Environmental Agency Eco-efficiency is the amount of ‘‘environment’’ used per unit of ‘economic activity
b
Global Development Research Center The relationship between economic output (product, service, activity) and environmental impactadded caused by production, consumption and disposal
c
Joseph Fiksel The ability of a managed entity to simultaneously meet cost, quality, and performance goals,reduce environmental impacts, and conserve valuable resources
d
Klaus North Eco-efficiency, cleaner production and lean production are based on a common philosophy: to reduce‘‘waste’’ in all steps of a production process. Eliminating waste will lead to improvements in eco-efficiencyand thus contributes to:less energy consumption, less waste material, less materials handling, andless intermediate storage
e
Laurent Grimal This strategy induces the integration of cleaner production technology into the production process, aimingat a reduction in materials and energy consumption and thus at a decrease in pollution
LEAN Advisors The means by which more and better goods and services are created using fewer resources and minimizingwaste and pollution. In practice, eco-efficiency has three core objectives: increasing product or service values,optimizing the use of resources, and reducing environmental impact
g
Nokia Eco-efciency means producing better results from less material and energy. For us this means:minimizing energy intensity, minimizing the material intensity of goods and services, extending productdurability, increasing the efficiency of processes, minimizing toxic dispersion, promoting recycling, andmaximizing the use of renewable resources
h
PrintNet Eco-efficiency is a concept that links environmental and nancial performance. It does this by focusing on thedevelopment, production and delivery of products and services that meet human needs while progressivelyreducing their environmental impact throughout their lifecycles. Eco-efficiency essentiallymeans doing more with less-using environmental resources more efficiently in economic processes. Theapplication of eco-efficiency is undertaken, but not limited, by approaches and tools such as cleaner productionand environmental management systems
i
Toshiba Group Eco-efficiency is calculated by dividing the ‘valueof a product by the product’s ‘environmental impact’. Thesmaller the environmental impact and the higher the value of the product, the greater is the eco-efficiency.The value of a product is calculated based on its functions and performance, taking the voice of customer intoconsideration. The environmental impact of a product is calculated, taking into considerationvarious environmental impacts throughout its life cycle
WMC Resources Ltd. Maximizing efficiency of production processes while minimizing impact on theenvironment. Eco-efficiency can be achieved by using new technology, using fewer inputs per unit of product such as energy and water, recycling moreand reducing toxic emissions. In summary doing more with less
a
Australian Government website: erin.gov.au/industry/finance/glossary.html.
b
European Environmental Agency website:http://reports.eea.eu.int/ .
c
Global Development Research Center website:www.gdrc.org/uem/ait-terms.html.
d
Fiksel J, editor. Design for environment: creating eco-efficient products and processes. McGraw-Hill; 1996.
e
North K. Environmental business management. 2nd revised ed. Geneva: International Labour Organisation; 1997.
Grimal L. The adoption of cleaner production technology and the emergence of industrial ecology activity: consequences for employment. In: Bourg D,Erkman S, editors. Perspectives on industrial ecology. Alsace, France; 2003.
g
LEAN Advisors website:http://www.leanadvisors.com.
h
Nokia website:http://www.nokia.com.
i
PrintNet website:http://www.printnet.com.au.
 j
Toshiba Group website:http://www.toshiba.co.jp.
 M. Braungart et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 15 (2007) 1337 
e
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