Cradle to Cradle
The Cradle to Cradle® approach stands in contrast to the well-known linear production principle of cradle to grave. In the latter system, materials often flow from their sources to their disposal without conscious consideration given to the long-term protection of natural resources.
Cradle to Cradle® is based on designing products for smooth integration into biological or technical cycles. The challenge is in planning the product's progress through a closed material cycle, which means that product materials should be suitable for a safe and complete return to the biosphere or for recovery and good quality reuse.
Future products on the market should be designed in such a way that the quality of the recovered recycling fractions increases and that the efficacy of recycling improves or, at the very least, remains constant.
Ingredients, including pigments and additives, should be selected to preclude toxic effects during use or in other phases such as manufacture, recycling and reuse. In keeping with the Cradle to Cradle® principle, crude oil, for instance, used one time to make plastic, remains in the cycle and is not irretrievably burned. The energy for recycling, as for other production processes, should be drawn if possible from renewable sources in an environmentally and climate-friendly fashion. A good example of this is the production of a new PET bottle from an old PET bottle.