Cradle to Cradle: Toolbox for a Circular Economy
A Circular Economy needs quality
There are a lot of examples of the current hype surrounding the Circular Economy. One of these is the fashion industry, which promotes recycled (e.g. ocean plastic) or sustainable textiles with closed-loop approaches.
In general we encourage the progressing circular thinking, since if we manage to recycle the raw materials of our clothes, the much-weighed resource waste of the fast-fashion is finally water under the bridge.
But from a Cradle to Cradle perspective, it is necessary that recyclability is already considered during the design phase of a product. All technical and biological processes must be environmentally compatible, so that products can even be beneficial instead of simply being less bad.
Did you know, that many PET bottles contain the carcinogenic antimony?
T-Shirts made out of plastic bottles, which are in direct contact with our skin, can therefore contain an increased amount of ingredients that are dangerous to human health. Still, many companies praise their closed-loop approaches as Circular Economy innovations, but very little research is being done on the design of healthy and safely recycable materials and products. Do you think this is reasonable recycling?
That’s why it is our ambition with the Cradle to Cradle design concept to support companies in rethinking their product design and using healthy input materials.
What we aim for: A Circular Economy powered by Cradle to Cradle
A positive footprint with optimised nutrient cycles
Companies must attempt to manage their products and the raw materials they use in circular models, to enable closed nutrient systems to be created. And that not as downcycling, but as upcycling. The aim is to create a positive footprint with optimised nutrient cycles.
This is the only way to ensure that the economic benefits are actually delivered. The methods and instruments developed and implemented by EPEA relating to material banking and the material passports come into play here.
The Cradle to Cradle® design concept combined with the Circular Economy forms a future-proof strategy that brings together innovation and an increase in quality, working simultaneously at an economic, social and ecological level.
„I appreciate the fact that Circular Economy is explicitly connected to Cradle to Cradle. Without Cradle to Cradle the danger exists that Circular Economy becomes another hollow buzzword without offering the necessary conditions and related framework which are needed to make a true transition”.
– EPEA CEO Michael Braungart –
Business transformation along the supply chain
The implementation of the Circular Economy takes place parallel at different levels: Chemicals, materials and products, manufacturing processes, services and complete systems.
At EPEA we interact with companies at every stage of the value chain, offer unique know-how and a worldwide network of companies, which we support with our expertise in the development of circular business models, technical and economic feasibility assessment, project management, coordination of stakeholder partnerships, reverse logistics, materials pooling and Cradle to Cradle® certification. This competence as well helps cities, regions and communities, to activate and implement the potential of circular added value faster and easier.
The competitive advantages of the Circular Economy powered by Cradle to Cradle®:
- Development of a positive footprint
- Driving force for innovation and quality
- Regional community building
- Increased security against market volatility
- Higher brand value and customer loyalty
- Creation of new jobs