Cradle to Cradle Sustainable Design

Cradle to Cradle design represents possibly the utmost in sustainability. This design protocol mimics natural systems in an attempt to go beyond simply reducing negative environmental impact and create a positive environmental impact.

What Is Cradle to Cradle Sustainable Design?

Cradle to Cradle design is the brainchild of architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart. In their 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, they outline the concept of thinking like nature. The natural world has no waste and doesn’t damage itself because everything is reabsorbed in a healthful way. These design principles make it possible for us to achieve the same state with manmade goods. This idea depends on the reusing of materials and the impact those materials have on the environment. All materials should biodegrade efficiently or be continuously reusable, like how glass can be recycled forever. On their website they describe it as valuing “materials as nutrients for safe, continuous cycling” and maintaining “continuous flows of biological and technical nutrients.”
This delicious design protocol is taking its hold, and we’ll show you two examples. Furniture supplier Herman Miller began designing new office chairs using these design principles by replacing the PVC in the arm pads with thermoplastic urethane, TPU, which is a polyurethane substance specifically designed to meet complex construction demands with a primary focus on a sustainable lifecycle. Shaw Industries creates floorings, including carpets, with reused materials that can continue to be reused, resulting in a closed-loop cycle.

Benefits of Cradle to Cradle design:

As with all sustainable initiatives, you enjoy the co-benefits of a clean conscience and reduced business costs. You also create an excellent competitive advantage and get a foothold in a new, exciting market of businesses wishing to partner with other businesses using Cradle to Cradle design and creating more sustainable products.

If you are interested in implementing Cradle to Cradle sustainable design in your business:

MDBC offers workshops for teaching Cradle to Cradle design principles.
They also offer a partnership with interested business owners to tailor design strategies to each individual business.
Certifications exist for Cradle to Cradle sustainable products so customers and investors can be informed. There are five certifications ranging from Basic to Platinum, and you can find out more about them on the MBDC website.

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