A ranking system developed by EPEA to classify all substances, materials and products in terms of their human and environmental health effects. Substances, materials or products labelled as "A" are "optimal" with respect to human and environmental health; Those labelled as "B" are considered "optimising," where there is room for improvement; Those labelled as "C" are "tolerable," but could either be replaced or optimised toward the A level; Lastly, "X"-substances, materials or products that are not acceptable due to their adverse effects on human or environmental health, and need to be replaced with healthier alternatives.
Sometimes referred to as the biological metabolism. The natural processes of ecosystems in which biological nutrients are re-used in safe and healthy cycles of abundance.
A material used by living organisms or cells to carry on life processes, such as growth, cell division, synthesis of carbohydrates and other complex functions. Biological nutrients are usually carbon-based compounds and pose no immediate or eventual hazard to living systems. They can be used for human purposes and be safely returned to the environment to feed natural processes.
CRADLE TO CRADLE® DESIGN
A new paradigm of human and natural activity that follows three fundamental principles: 1) the understanding that waste is equal to food for another process, 2) the use of solar energy and 3) the celebration of diversity (biological and cultural diversity, which includes the diversity of skills along supply chains of human lifestyle and industry). Essentially, this paradigm proposes that all of human design can learn from nature to become an effective, safe, enriching, delightful and valuable component of the Earth. Cradle to Cradle® Design models human lifestyle and industry on nature's processes, in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in two, healthy and safe metabolisms: the biological cycle, and the technical cycle.
The practice of recycling a material without defining its future use(s). This results in greater entropy and therefore a decrease in the value and potential of the material for future uses.
The strategy for the safe, regenerative and profitable design of all human activity, producing economic, ecological and social value. This term is a sharp contrast to eco-efficiency, as the intention underlying eco-effectiveness is not to minimise a human ecological footprint, but rather to generate a valuable, nourishing and profitable footprint in either the biological or technical cycles of abundance.
The strategy of minimising harm to natural systems by reducing the amount of waste and pollution from human activity. A sharp contrast to eco-effectiveness, this term describes the current, popular notion of "saving the environment," where a human ecological footprint is simply reduced.
The elegant capacity of materials and processes to embody aspects of natural systems and processes when designed. Such aspects include nutrient cyclability, interdependence, synergies, abundance, diversity, solar energy and regenerative ability.
INTELLIGENT MATERIALS POOLING
A framework for the collaboration of economic actors within the technical cycle, which allows companies to pool material resources, specialised knowledge and purchasing power relating to the acquisition, transformation and sale of technical nutrients and their associated products. The result is a mutually beneficial system of co-operation amongst actors along the supply chain that supports the formation of coherent technical cycles and the enabling of product-service strategies.
LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT
A technique to determine the potential environmental impacts of a product by examining all material and energy inputs and outputs throughout each stage of its development (production, use, disposal and re-use).
THE NEXT INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The emerging movement of human production and commerce that eliminates the concept of waste, uses energy from renewable sources (primarily the sun), and celebrates cultural and biological diversity. The promise of the Next Industrial Revolution is a system of production that fulfils all desires for economic and ecological abundance and social equity in both the short and long terms--becoming sustaining for all generations.
PREFERENCE (P) LISTS
A tool developed by EPEA in order to group all materials that are to be included for use in the making of a particular product based on their human or environmental health effects. This tool includes the use of ABC-X Categorisation and allows designers and developers to characterise and observe the optimisation process of a particular product.
PRODUCT OF CONSUMPTION
A product designed to consist of biological nutrients for its safe and complete return to the natural environment as food for living systems--a component of the biological cycle. The product of consumption offers effectiveness without the liability of materials that must be recycled or "managed" after use.
PRODUCT OF SERVICE
A product designed to consist of technical nutrients (and may or may not contain biological nutrients) that is used by the customer, but in effect, is owned by the manufacturer. The manufacturer maintains ownership of valuable material assets (technical nutrients) for continual re-use, while the customer receives the service of the product without assuming its material liability. Products that utilise valuable but potentially hazardous materials can be optimised as Products of Service.
Sometimes referred to as the technical metabolism. The processes of human industry modeled on natural systems, in which valuable synthetic, metal, mineral and often hazardous materials are perpetually re-used in closed loops. In these "loops," products of service are simply a step along never ending material and energy flows.
A material having the ability to maintain its inherent value by circulating in a continuous loop system (the technical cycle), which includes manufacture, use, recovery and re-use.
The practice of recycling material in such a way that it maintains and/or accrues value over time (the opposite of downcycling).
WASTE EQUALS FOOD
One of the three principles of the Cradle to Cradle® Design paradigm, which is the understanding that all products consist of either biological or technical nutrients to be utilised in open biological cycles or closed technical cycles.