In order to enable the circularity of materials to either ecosystem, the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ principles encompass the following good design practices:
- Design all products, processes and objects so that after their initial use all materials can be fully re-used in a biological or technological cycle. Avoid hybrid material streams that are very difficult to separate. Define the materials and their associated life cycle usage paths.
- Design with the final situation of the product into consideration. This means that the design should enable a transformation and/or dismantling of the product, process or object with full re-use of the materials.
- Biomimicry. Take nature’s time-tested ideas and echo them in our own lives (Benyus, 1997).
- Use renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind and (ground) water.
- Respect the diversity of the location, species, innovation and culture.
- Social responsibility. That means rightful labor, healthy workplaces, inclusion and freedom of association. Create added value for the stakeholders.
- Improve of product/process chemistry to achieve better discharge water quality.
Gathering the inventory of materials implies characterizing the chemical composition of materials that make up the product. The purpose is to identify harmful materials that when in contact with people and the environment can cause health issues and environmental damage. The first step to identify harmful materials is screening the product’s bill of materials to find any banned chemicals. Banned chemicals are those which are scientifically known to cause harm to human health and the natural environment. Next, the materials are assessed based on how they are utilized within the product and the potential exposure pathways during manufacture, use and end of life, to determine the potential level of harm.
Read more at: C2C
Photo credits: Pure[IF]Hide, a winner of the ‘2015 Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge’.