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MBDC Cradle to Cradle Certified

Expert Advice - TheGreenOffice.com

The concept of ‘cradle-to-cradle’ design for consumer products was pioneered by designer William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart.   Their design firm, MBDC, certifies products which meet their criteria.

The concept of cradle-to-cradle replaces the previous paradigm of ‘cradle-to-grave,’ in which products are simply dumped in landfills at the end of their 'life.'  As each day makes clearer, cradle-to-grave design and production is inefficient and unsustainable.  Efficient ecological systems have no waste; economic systems should mirror this efficiency.  MBDC creates and certifies products which flow through cradle-to-cradle cycles.  A given product’s materials are perpetually circulated in closed loops. Maintaining materials in closed loops maximizes material value without damaging ecosystems.

Within the certification process, MBDC evaluates a material or product’s ingredients and the complete formulation for human and environmental health impacts throughout its lifecycle and its potential for being truly recycled or safely composted. Certification of a finished product also requires the evaluation of energy-use quantity and quality (i.e., relative proportion of renewable energy), water-use quantity, water-effluent quality, and workplace ethics associated with manufacturing. Criteria fall into the following five categories:

  1. Materials
  2. Material Reutilization/Design for Environment
  3. Energy
  4. Water
  5. Social Responsibility

If a candidate material or product is found to achieve the necessary criteria, it is certified as a Silver, Gold or Platinum product or as a Technical or Biological Nutrient (a classification available for homogeneous materials or less complex products).

To learn more about MBDC and Cradle-to-Cradle design visit their website http://www.mbdc.com and read Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by Michael Braungart and William McDonough.