Understanding “Cradle to Cradle” Cradle to Cradle Design “Cradle to Cradle” is a new design principle. Instead of designing prod- ucts to last from “cradle” to “grave,” under a new paradigm a product is designed so that when it is used product becomes new “raw” material for other products. Also known as a closed loop system, this model differs from traditional recycling, where products are “down-cycled” into lower quality components or products. In a closed loop system materials are fully reusable and mimic natural ecological systems. This phrase was originally coined by Walter Stahel, but it has been popularized by William McDonough’s book of the same name and has now become widely adopted as a new way of thinking of product design. Companies and engineers are now devising creative ways to design products that are not only fully recyclable, but that can actually be disassembled and reused in new products. Cradle to Cradle Certification Products meeting rigorous environmental, safety and transparency standards can receive Cradle to Cradle® certification . This certification goes beyond many other environmental certifications because it considers the degree to which a product is designed for future life cycles. The criteria are: 1. Material Health 2. Material Reutilization 3. Renewable Energy Use 4. Water Stewardship 5. Social Responsibility Prepared by the Product Stewardship Institute For more information visit: http://www.mbdc.com/ “Material Reutilization” It is the requirement that sets this certifica- tion apart from other environmental certifi- cations. To encourage moving beyond the idea of “waste,” companies are rewarded for designs that “encourage the recyclabil- ity of the product for future uses.” Products receive a higher level of certification if they contain recycled or renewable materials and are “designed to be recycled as techni- cal or biological nutrients in future life cy- cles.” The highest certification level re- quires companies create truly “closed loop” production processes.