Cradle to Cradle
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Cradle to Cradle

With Cradle to Cradle concept, according to William McDonough and Michael Braungart, as in nature, there is no such thing as waste, no having to do without, no limitations. Using biological and technological nutrient cycles, the right materials are brought to the right place at the right time. The aim of the Cradle to Cradle design concept is to improve the quality of products so that they


  • have an improved consumer quality for the user

  • pose no health risk for anyone who comes into contact with them

  • are of both economic and ecological benefit

The Cradle to Cradle method of production is in direct contrast to the “Cradle to Grave“ model in which material flows are formed without any conscious consideration of protecting resources. Rather than attempt to reduce the linear material flows and present-day methods of production, the Cradle to Cradle design concept envisages their redesign into circular nutrient cycles in which value, once created, remains of worth to both man and nature. The Cradle to Cradle design concept is founded upon three fundamental principles.


Waste equals Food

The processes of every single organism in a living system contribute to the health and well-being of the system as a whole. The leaves of a tree, for example, its “waste”, fall to the ground where they are broken down and become nutrients for other organisms. Microbes feed off this organic "waste" and, as a result, return many valuable nutrients to the soil that the tree can profit from. The “waste” of one organism is thus nutrients for another. Plans made by humans that attempt to replicate this nutrient cycle – cycles in which waste no longer occurs – form the very the foundation of the material flow systems that are a fundamental component of the Cradle to Cradle method of production.

Use current solar income

The first industrial revolution obtained its energy predominantly from the reservoirs of the past. Fossil fuels were used that had been created millions of years ago. Nuclear energy places great strains and very dangerous responsibilities on many future generations. Systems that are driven using solar energy are systems that are using today’s energy without having to put the futures of our children and their children at risk. It is most certainly within the capabilities of today’s technology to profitably incorporate the use of and reliance on solar energy into the design of production systems. The direct capture of solar energy is one possibility. Wind energy, created as a result of sunlight causing thermal differences in the atmosphere, is a further source. Biomass and other energy sources also form creditable possibilities.

Celebrate diversity

Natural systems function and flourish through complexity. Compared to the standard solutions of the industrial revolution and to the uniformity so highly prized by globalization, nature supports an almost unending abundance of variety and diversity. How we go about manufacturing products must be similarly tackled with the same flair for diversity and variety. To concentrate on only the one criterion is to create instability and imbalance in a wider context and represents what we term an “ism”, an extreme, or completely detached, solution that is outside the actual structure of the problem. A theory then.