Cradle to Cradle (Cicular Economy)

Cradle to Cradle is a sustainable design practice that is implemented into products at the beginning of the design stage. The design and manufacturing team create products that can be used over and over and over again. This process can take years to complete.

Cradle to Grave

The alternative to this is cradle to grave. This is a fast design process with a quick manufacturing process. The final result of this is usually that that product cannot be fixed and has to be replaced. The major con of this is that the now useless product will go to landfill.

It is important to know that the product that you want to buy is made to last, can be upgraded and/or have multiple uses. During the design process, everything is taught about from the way it is produced, to its packaging to how it can be dismantled. This is also known as the circular economy.

The ideal goal is to have the absolute minimum amount of waste at the end of a products life cycle. “Everything comes full circle” is a good way of describing the circular economy.

Items are produced within sustainable manufacturing plants i.e. wind/solar power. They are then bought and used by the consumer. The consumer can compost, recycle or repurpose the product at the end of its lifecycle. It is then disassembled or returned back to the land. The disassembled items can be reused in the manufacturing plant and the composted material can be used to encourage new vegetation. Bringing it back “Full Circle” to the manufacturing plant.

It is best to find a product which is sourced from biological resource or find a product that can be disassembled and/or reused. Aim towards upcycling rather than downcycling. It is not solely up to the consumer to make these changes, though the consumers are the people who drive the market.

By making small changes in daily life to items that are centred more around the circular economy the consumer can change the market. YOU can change the market.

There are many things that come into factor within the cradle to cradle life cycle. It can seem overwhelming as a consumer. It would be a lot easier and possibly cheaper to simply not think about what we are buying. Changing our mindset is no easy task, though it is essential to our environment, our future generations and dear I say our economy.

Some questions to ask yourself when you want to buy a new product.

What is the product made from?
If the item breaks is it easily repaired?
If it breaks where will the waste go?
Do I need to buy special parts or can I pick the part up in a hardware store?
Where is the material from? If it’s plastic is it recycled plastic?
Is the manufacturing plant runs by solar/wind energy or crude oil?
What kind of packaging do they use?

The easiest way to find out these questions is to ask…

It is now easier than ever to ask questions to big conglomerates or the family-run business down the street. Social media has opened so many doors, just send them a pm or tag them in a story. You are giving them direct feedback about their product, which in most cases can improve the performance of the company. If they don’t respond, then consider not to buy their product. It is important to buy within the circular economy but it is okay if you’re not perfect.

Everything is trial and error all you need to really work on in mindset and asking questions.