Cradle to Cradle


This refers to a precept of ecodesign and environment ethics based on 2 principles:

  • Zero pollution
  • 100% re-used

The Cradle to Cradle ecodesign defines and develops upcyclable products, in other words contrary to conventional recycling, it maintains the quality of the raw materials throughout a product’s multiple life cycles.

In the end, this means that anything can be considered to be a resource (= a nutrient) and the notion of waste is disappearing: the good materials re-enter cycles indefinitely (metabolism), used in the right place at the right time.

To simplify, a manufactured product must be able, once recycled, to again produce the same product, only the addition of renewable energy occurs in the cycle.


Origin and label

The creators of this concept, German chemist Michael Braungart and American architect William McDonough based their reflections on what they see in nature, preferring to favour several million years of experience rather than the history of humanity that only focuses on a few thousand years.

Armed with this observation, to them it seemed relevant to:

  • Consider that all systems whatever they are should work like living organisms.
  • Check that waste doesn’t exist in nature, it is always associated with a resource for another organism and this works and prospers through great diversity.
  • Note that any energy input occurs naturally (solar, wind, thermal, …)

These 3 observations of nature are the cornerstone of the Cradle 2 Cradle philosophy.

In 2002, the creators launched the C2C label benefiting from an international certification that designates all ecodesigned products according to the principles taken from nature.

The C2C concept singles out two types of product:

  1. Consumption products, designed to nourish the ecosystem after use
  2. service products designed to become 100% reusable technical nutrients to produce new generations of products and services.

A C2C product (service) is designed in such a way that once it reaches the end of its lifespan, the materials used can be separated easily from one another and thus reintroduced into the manufacturing cycle of another product and this, without the materials losing in quality.

Maintaining the quality is one of the essential points that make C2C stand out from recycling.


In practice

From 2005 to 2015 nearly 150 industrialists in the United States of America, Germany and Holland obtained the C2C certification for approximately 2000 manufactured products (jeans, office furniture, soaps, construction materials…)

Wilmet Namur