Cradle to Cradle®

Cradle to Cradle®: Innovation, quality and good design

Cradle to Cradle® is a design concept that was developed in the 1990s by Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart, William McDonough and the scientists of EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung in Hamburg.

The idea: Cradle to Cradle® stands for innovation, quality and good design. It describes the safe and potentially infinite use of materials in cycles.

The concept: Cradle to Cradle® is a design concept inspired by nature, in which products are created according to the principles of an ideal circular economy. This differentiates Cradle to Cradle® from conventional recycling and the concept of eco-efficiency. The Cradle to Cradle® design concept is about eco-effectiveness and goes beyond conventional sustainability tools and approaches, which primarily show the negative influence of humans on the environment. Cradle to Cradle® follows the Triple Top Line as its basic approach, and its implementation creates equal economic, social and ecological benefits.

The advantages: Cradle to Cradle® offers companies the opportunity to present their products as no longer just for sale, but as available for use. After the use of the product, the materials are taken back as part of a reprocessing system and therefore remain in circulation. Companies may become less dependent on price fluctuations in raw materials markets. The economy of the whole value creation cycle is improved: the value chain is viewed from raw materials to the remanufacture of the product.

The two cycles: The Cradle to Cradle® design concept distinguishes between the biological and the technological cycles for materials. The waste materials in an old product become the "food" for a new product.

In the biological cycle materials are returned to the biosphere in the form of compost or other nutrients, from which new materials can be created.
In the technical cycle materials that are not used up during use in the product can be reprocessed to allow them to be used in a new product.