The Idea

Cradle
to Cradle

From cradle to cradle — rethinking production processes. Cradle to Cradle Certified® Design defines and develops circular products. As a differentiation from conventional recycling, the quality of the raw materials is maintained over several product life cycles and only chemicals "rated as safe" are used.

The production processes, use and recycling of the products are designed according to the model of preserving the quality of the raw materials over several life cycles.

What exactly does that mean? No waste: all ingredients are considered as nutrients

— The right materials are integrated in defined cycles at the right time and place.

Quick Jump

  • Nature as a model

    ... reflects ongoing developments in a Cradle to Cradle Certified® product: Flourishing trees in spring are only apparently redundant.

  • The 2 Systems

    The 2 Systems: biological and technical cycles. Biological Cycle: Consumer Goods (natural fibers, cosmetics, detergents, etc.) are designed so that they can be used in biological cycles over and over again.

  • The 4th Dimension.

    Cradle to Cradle Certified® Products reach a new quality dimension and distinguish themselves through high economic value as well as modest, ideally with no environmental damage.

  • Differentiation

    Cradle to Cradle Certified® Design transmits the principle “Quality equal Quantity” to industrial systems. Materials together with material flows are

  • Topics Discussions

    Cradle to Cradle Certified® requires a “Paradigm Change” in relation to today’s predominant “Cradle to Grave” approach.

  • Certification

    Learn more about Cradle to Cradle Certified® Certification

Nature as a model

Nature as a model reflects ongoing developments in a Cradle to Cradle Certified® product: Flourishing trees in spring are only apparently redundant. From a few blossoms new trees are growing. All blossoms not used for growth, fall to the ground and become nutrients.

Cradle to Cradle Certified® Products reach a new quality dimension and distinguish themselves through high economic value as well as modest, ideally with no environmental damage. They achieve high consumer friendliness and are credentials of a paradigm change towards consumer behaviour and in the industrial production. Cradle to Cradle Certified® Design defines not only form, functionality and ingredients of a product. The goal is to strive for a new dimension in quality and safety in endless cycles.

The 2 Systems: biological and technical cycles

BIOLOGICAL CYCLE

Consumer Goods (natural fibers, cosmetics, detergents, etc.) are designed so that they can be used in biological cycles over and over again. They decompose to organic nutrients and promote biological nutrients and systems such as plant growth. The renewable raw materials are in turn the basis for new products.

TECHNICAL CYCLE

Service Products (TV sets, cars, synthetic fibers, etc.), the so-called technical nutrients, are separated to enable the production of new commodities after fulfilling their initial function. The users / consumers purchase only the relevant services, e.g. Television. The materials remain the property of the manufacturer, which retains them through collection and reenters them into the technical cycle.

The 4. Dimension: From Linear to Cyclic Material Cycle

Product design is traditionally based on optimising functionality (technical and aesthetic performance) and manufacturing costs. Usually, three dimensions of a product are considered: height, length and width or performance, aesthetics, price. A product, however, is embedded in streams of material that move along a predetermined path that begins with “extraction”, goes through “manufacture” and ends with “discard” – with waste – as long as resources are not obtained as additional ones Feature of product quality is assumed.

Cradle to Cradle Certified® Design systematically integrates the production and distribution chain, “time” so to speak, as the fourth dimension of product quality. Materials are transformed and modified at various stages along these chains. A previously linear material flow is thus converted into a cyclical one. In this way, the value of all materials in biological or technical cycles is preserved.

Topics Discussion

Cradle to Cradle Certified®Sustainability
PerspectiveCradle to CradleMainly Cradle to Grave
OrientationEnvironmental quality goals to reachProblems to reduce, avoid, minimize,
MethodCircularity, Cradle to Cradle, Back- and forecasting loopMainly linearity, mainly Cradle to Grave, forecasting
IndicatorsQualitative prior to quantitativeQuantitative
Environmental ImpactMaximization of the positive effectss for humans, environment and maintaining the quality of raw materialsThings are countable. Goal in reducing negative impacts
Emphasis✅ Profit ✅ People ✅ Planet ✅ Pleasure✅ Profit ✅ People ✅ Planet ❌ Pleasure

About Cradle to Cradle Certified® Certification

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Cradle to Cradle Certified® redefines products made for tomorrow.

How we design and make products today shapes the world we will inhabit tomorrow. Leading brands, retailers, designers and manufacturers rely on Cradle to Cradle Certified® Certification to ensure the impact of their products on people and planet is a positive one. C2C Certified® Certification is the most ambitious and actionable standard yet for designing and making products today that enable a healthy, equitable, and sustainable tomorrow. The Cradle to Cradle Certified® Product Standard is regarded as the most trusted and advanced science-based standard for designing and manufacturing safe, circular and responsibly made products that maximise health and wellbeing for people and the environment

Visit the website of the Product Innovation Institute or read a summary of the most important facts regarding the certification here.