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Cradle to Cradle, In Real Life: It Works!

“Cradle to Cradle” has gone from a cool-sounding, high-level idea to roadmap to a more sustainable world to practical design manual that is influencing the way that the stuff we use gets designed and built. It may sound a little bit like a pie-in-the-sky goal, an easy-to-say, difficult-to-implement practice, but it’s really happening. Here are some of TreeHugger’s favorite examples of Cradle to Cradle (or C2C, for brevity fans) products and ideas in motion.

1) Since the first six products [www.treehugger.com] were certified, including Steelcase’s Think chair (above) McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), the company that administers the certification, has added more than twenty new products to the list; both together and separately, they represent a “how-to” guide for the C2C concept.
2) C2C is not just for building materials and to-the-trade products, like concrete and task seating; as gDiapers has proven [www.treehugger.com], there’s room for everything — even diapers — in C2C, if it’s sustainable enough.
3) The concept has even reached some government agencies, as the US Postal Service [www.treehugger.com] is on board; they’re helping to prove that now, more than ever, C2C is going mainstream [www.treehugger.com].

4) But C2C is not just for products; it was a huge influence on TreeHugger’s Umbrella Inside Out [umbrella.treehugger.com] design competitions, where a cradle-to-cradle-like umbrella was designed, and a runway-ready couture dress was designed and created from discarded umbrellas.
5) All of this sounds neat, but for proper context, especially for the certification, it’s important to really break down what it means [www.treehugger.com], so we did.

6) Now that we’ve established what it is, what it means, and how it’s supposed to work, we had to test it out. TreeHugger Petz took the book for a “test-bath,” (pictured above) not only to show that the book actually is waterproof, but to showcase one of the ways that we can create better ways for the world to work.
7) Even companies like Herman Miller, who’ve been designing with the environment in mind for decades, have something to learn from C2C; if they can learn from it, so can we.