The cradle-to-cradle approach to design was developed by William McDonough, a notable architect in sustainable buildings, and chemist Michael Braungart in 2002. It is a method used to minimize the environmental impact of products by employing sustainable production, operation, and disposal practices and aims to incorporate social responsibility into product development. Under the cradle-to-cradle philosophy, products are evaluated for sustainability and efficiency in manufacturing processes, material properties, and toxicity as well as potential to reuse materials through recycling or composting.

Cradle-to-cradle designs are examples of “eco-effective” business practices that optimize human health, recyclable and compostable materials, product life, use of renewable energy, water efficiency and quality while keeping the manufacturers socially responsible. The eco-effective, cradle-to-cradle philosophy responds to the “eco-efficiency” approach, which only seeks to minimize the negative environmental impacts of a business or industry.
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Learn more about Cradle-to-Cradle design in ecomii’s Green Building section.

Learn more about McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry.