Cradle-to-Cradle design is an approach to design of products and systems, modeling human industry on nature’s processes viewing materials as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. Its contrast is cradle-to-grave, referring to a company taking responsibility for the disposal of goods it has produced, but not necessarily putting product constituent components back into service.
Cradle-to-Cradle is a phrase invented by Walter R. Stahel in the 1970s and popularized by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in a 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.
Basically, the method of Cradle-to-Cradle is used to minimize environmental impact of products by employing sustainable production, operation and disposal practices, aiming to incorporate social sustainability in to product development (sharing commonalities from the Triple Bottom Line).
In society today, we always hear that companies are aiming to minimize harmful effects on the planet and so on. Cradle-to-Cradle philosophy throws the ‘minimize harmful effects’ notion out and instead reframes it into design that is a beneficial, regenerative force. In essence, it shifts thought from being ‘less bad’ to being ‘more good’ – from minimizing negative impact to optimizing positive impact.
Sustainability of products is extremely important as move into a future wrought with environmental uncertainty and negative outlooks. The more we adapt our building to fit a cradle-to-cradle type system, building to ‘do good’ instead of just ‘less bad’, the more hope for future generations to not inherit a suffering planet.
Cradle-to-Cradle is an extensive subject with many sources, but one that I found particularly intriguing was William McDonough’s TED Talk a few years back. McDonough will actually be a keynote speaker at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in New Orleans, LA from October 22-23rd. Kryton International Inc. will also be exhibiting at the Greenbuild, informing green builders on the environmental benefits of our Krystol products.
Watch McDonough;s TED Talk here.