Cradle to Cradle: Scientific Foundation
Know your ingredients: The C2C Material Assessment
The identification of suitable materials for products and processes is a fundamental step in the development of a Cradle to Cradle® product. One first step is finding and defining the constituent materials used in the manufacture of a product. This forms the beginning of a product redesign or a development of a new product concept. Using an ABC-X-categorization, all constituent materials are then evaluated. The process of evaluation according to Cradle to Cradle® is based on the following steps:
- Collection and identification of products and their constituent materials
- Research, using databases and scientific literature, regarding the the ecological and toxicological data of individual component parts. This research then forms the basis of an evaluation of any dangers they present
- Consideration of specified scenarios and an estimation of the resultant overall risk of the material
- Recommendation for the safe handling of the product or concerning substance
A recommendation is then made on basis of a classification whereby, A= optimal, B= optimizing, C= tolerable and X= not acceptable.
Material pooling along the supply chain: Cradle to Cradle Community Building
Cradle to Cradle® is a comprehensive approach that claims to change today’s industrial production. One of the challenges is to encourage companies and partners from science, government organizations and society to transform the respective industrial sectors. Cooperation ranges from joint product development to research projects and marketing campaigns. When building a network, special attention is paid to the sharing of materials.
EPEA works for almost 30 years on the implementation of production methods using nature as a model on a large scale. A successful solution is the so-called material pooling. It enables companies to use material resources within a pool and also to exchange their specialized knowledge in the acquisition and transformation of sales-related nutrients. The result is a networking system, in which actors along the value chain can cooperate and thereby is beneficial to all stakeholders.
The core of such cooperation is a material database that retains ownership of technical chemicals, “nutrients” and materials. This material database passes the substances to participating companies in a leasing process, which in turn convert them into products and then make them available to consumers in the form of a service plan. After a defined period of use the material is collected and returned to the material database. At the same time information associated with these materials is also collected, managed and distributed among interested parties.
This way, the material database ensures an accumulation of knowledge about a certain material in the long term, thus enabling a true “upcycling” of the material.