Monday, May 4, 2009

Post 4 Cien cradle to cradle

so what is cradle to cradle?
definition: Products that are designed so that there is no wastage. The components are seen as either 'biological nutrients' that safely re-enter the environment or as 'technical nutrients' which can be recycled or reused with no loss of quality.

Nike has stepped on board the new cradle to cradle way of life. Nike's designers went back to first prinicples, questioning basic design traditions in order to get to a new and better product outcome which addresses the environmental footprint required to source, manufacture, and recycle shoes. Here are some highlights:
  • Leather (a renewable resource) pieces are stiched in an overlapping fashion so as to produce smooth internal seams, obviating the need for comfort liners and reducing the shoes's material mass.
  • All of those leather pieces are tanned using a vegetable-based process
  • Again, to save material mass, metal eyelets aren't used
  • The two-piece outsole is designed to snap together, eliminating harmful adhesives and simplifying recyclability
  • No use of PVC
  • Where possible, materials are sourced locally to reduce transportation energy use

As shoes generate 63% less waste in manufacturing than a typical Nike design. The use of solvents has been cut by 80%. And a stunning 37% less energy is required to create a pair of shoes. Which is a step in the right direction and hopefully other company's will follow Nike's lead.

The result is a new sub-brand of shoes whose differentiation is rooted not in the multi-million dollar marketing endorsement of a basketball player, but in the physical makeup and design of the offering itself. That's real, and I hope it's for keeps.

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