Abbreviated to C2C and referred to as a regenerative Biomimetric approach, Cradle to Cradle applies biological methods and systems found in nature to design. This method operates on the theory that industry must protect and enrich the ecosystem. This theory is in opposition to the Cradle to Grave design and production system. C2G product cycles are not really cycles but only half-cycles in which products, after their useful life, are discarded and put out of sight in landfills. C2C designs restore continuous cycles of biological as well as technical nutrients with long-term positive effects on profitability, the environment and human health.
- BIOLOGICAL CYCLES refer to organic materials that can be disposed of in any natural environment and decompose into the soil, providing food for small life forms and plants. This promotes the WASTE=FOOD equation.
- TECHNICAL CYCLES are strictly limited to non-toxic, non-harmful synthetic materials that have no negative effect on the environment.
- GREEN - little to no risk.
- YELLOW - low to moderate risk. The chemicals used are acceptable till a green alternative is found.
- ORANGE - There is no indication that this is a high risk chemical, complete assessment is not possible due to a lack of information.
- RED - high risk chemicals or X-list. These should be phased out as soon as possible.
A great example of the C2C design method is Aveda. This company has achieved the C2C certification for 4 of the main ingredients they use in their beauty products. They are the first beauty company to achieve this status.
Their certified ingredients are:
sandalwood from Australia
rose oil from Bulgaria
lavender oil from Bulgaria
uruka from Brazil
Not only have they made this ground-breaking achievement, they have made their packaging more eco-friendly. This company has included 100% post-consumer recycled high-density polyethylene in bottles and jars, as well as packaging that can easily be taken apart for curbside recycling. Aveda are leading the way in C2C design and production in the beauty world.
It is important to remember that in order to actually make a difference in the survival of our eco-system we need to fundamentally change the way we design our products, industries and cities. It is no longer enough to simply recycle. By making it our aim to choose products made under the C2C system we will be promoting their production, hence making them more readily available and eventually bringing the C2G system to an end.