Cradle to cradle

Cradle to cradle, also known as C2C, was developed by William McDonough and Micheal Braungart. They introduced this different way of thinking about and designing sustainable solutions in the form of processes and products. In short, this concept is thus about products that can be infinitely reused or that can be harmlessly degraded. The principles of cradle to cradle are the reuse of solar energy, honouring biodiversity and the idea that waste is food. The core of this philosophy is thus that materials used in one product are reused in a high-quality manner in the next product, either in a technical cycle or in a biological cycle.

The biological and technological cycles must thereby be separated. An explicit distinction is made between biological and technological materials. Technological materials include all synthetic materials. Through this principle of the label, materials are processed in a separate cycle. Since waste is also food, it must not be toxic. The rest, on the other hand, must be able to be reused in a technological cycle. C2C uses renewable energy. So products must be made from material that has already been used. Cradle to cradle should add value instead of reducing it. The idea behind it is that a positive footprint should always be left behind. Materials should be healthy and reusable, production should be via renewable energy and cradle to cradle should provide (clean) water and social fairness. When these requirements are met, it can reduce risks, increase product value, reduce costs and create new profits around material flows.

At the forefront of this theory is improving the circularity of products and society. For this, it is especially important to develop products very well and develop them intelligently. This is done by avoiding harmful raw materials, allowing substances to stay in their biological or technological cycles and preventing mixing of substances. So it is made so that it is easy to take apart and products use circular raw materials.

Next, production should be intelligent by using renewable energy, utilising the entire chain to close cycles, using local opportunities, using people optimally and respecting them (leading to less disease outages). Production should avoid wasting energy and raw materials. In this, waste is seen as food. It is therefore important that raw materials do not lose value when reused or recycled. Therefore, upcycling is used, where normally downcycling happens when recycling items. Downcycling means that the raw material loses value and cannot be reused again, for example. Cradle to cradle takes care of that.

Finally, intelligent marketing is needed to achieve the cradle to cradle label. This is done by selling not the ownership of the product, but the used of the product, and by creating a new market for used materials so that waste disappears.

The hallmark has five levels of sustainability, namely basic, bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Companies and products are divided into these categories through an assessment on the composition of materials, the possibilities of reusing these materials, the use of renewable energy, sustainable water management and social justice. The assessment differs per product group. Once every two years, an independent agency carries out an audit of these criteria.

At Carel Lurvink, you will find many products by BlackSatino, among others, that use the cradle to cradle concept.