Cradle to Cradle
THE C2C DESIGN CONCEPT
To solve our climate and resource problem in the long term, we humans need to rethink and redesign. The C2C design concept is the guide for this. It is modeled on natural cycles in which any waste is nutrient for something new. Cradle to Cradle takes into account all ecological, economic and social aspects of products as early as the design phase. Only recyclable materials that are suitable for the specific purpose of a product are used.
Of central importance is the distinction between products of consumption and products of usage. The components of products of consumption inevitably enter the biosphere during use. They must therefore be completely biodegradable. This applies, for example, to cleaning agents, cosmetics or medicines. Components of products of usage that do not enter the biosphere can circulate endlessly in technical cycles. To do so, they must be separable by type so that they can be recycled with at least the same quality and become nutrients for something new. For example, a window frame or a technical device. These products are material banks because their resources retain their value and can be used again and again. Products can also contain materials from both cycles: The abrasion of a bicycle tire must be created for the biosphere, the frame for the technosphere. New, circular business models such as product service systems support the recycling of products within the technosphere.
Whether materials are suitable for a product always depends on the intended use. Therefore, each product must be individually designed for this use and the materials used must be defined for it. This creates the same diversity as in natural ecosystems – and they are productive, healthy and resilient.
All products must be produced exclusively with renewable energies from recyclable plants. This is because the sun’s energy is abundant, but the raw materials needed to convert it into electricity are not. Water is also a valuable and scarce resource, which is why it must leave factories in at least the same quality. Cradle to Cradle also considers not only ecological problems, but their connection to economic and social challenges: Through fair and decent working conditions along all value chains.
We must not only abolish or reduce the negative side effects of our actions, but create and strengthen positive effects. Transforming therefore means: we design everything differently, create circular business models and thus redefine consumption as well as production.
In the BIOSPHERE, materials circulate in a continuous biological cycle. Any abrasion or loss must be 100% biodegradable – only then it serves as food for the biosphere: from synthetic textiles to packaging and cosmetics to car and bike tires. Composting is good – treating waste as a nutrient even better. When soap not only cleans our skin but also keeps our water clean, Cradle to Cradle is a reality.
In the TECHNOSPHERE, materials circulate in continuous technical cycles. Raw materials for the technosphere are available in limited quantities on earth. Therefore, they must be maintained at a consistently high quality. Renewable raw materials can also circulate in the technosphere before they become nutrients again. Everything can be manufactured in such a way that the materials used can be separated with little effort. Design for disassembly, never again a shortage of raw materials – thanks to Cradle to Cradle.