Cradle to Cradle® - Chemistry of Life

We need the right chemistry for use in our environment: chemical substances, for example, in printing pastes, stabilisers or plastics, form the basis for nearly all industrial products. Chemistry is therefore an essential building block for developing healthy and circular products – from molecular to modular level. Designed for our precious life – learned from nature. We refer to this as “chemistry for life”.


Problematic constituents in products can not only affect the environment, but are more and more often also found in the human body – microplastics, for example. For this reason, we not only strive for compliance with regulatory limits and a “less bad” chemistry, but positively defined constituents from the outset. This is the only way to create products which are beneficial for humans and the environment.

What is the difference to the current chemistry?

With Cradle to Cradle®, products are not only tested for problematic (off-gassing, migrating) constituents after production, but are evaluated from the outset and produced using selected, healthy chemicals. For this, the composition and purpose must be defined. Are we looking at a service product or a consumable? To what extent is skin contact or exposure to the environment possible?


„There is no green chemistry – only good or bad. When a product becomes waste, it has a quality problem. “

For PVC, we have developed a Responsible Use of PVC Charta which links the use of PVC, chlorine and the management of these materials back to the beginnings of industrial PVC development. Chlorine can be used in PVC applications with a positively defined composition if it can be demonstrably managed during and after use. For printing products, we have founded the Healthy Printing Initiative which brings together all players including printing ink manufacturers, packaging producers and users. Together, we develop healthy printing pigments and test the applicability for all kinds of substrates and packaging materials. The result is a safe regeneration of printed products.

How does EPEA support the implementation of Cradle to Cradle® chemistry?

For more than 30 years, we have been working as an innovation partner and knowledge trustee together with chemicals producers, research institutions and product manufacturers. We support companies with global supply chains in the implementation of Cradle to Cradle® and jointly develop safe products for technical and biological cycles. From the optimisation of the constituents to product development, we bring together the right partners.

  • Material / chemical evaluation and optimization
  • C2C Certified™ certification
  • Network initiatives & cross-industry cooperations

The EPEA science team has wide-ranging expertise in the chemical and biological properties of material components of various product groups. We use this know-how for the optimisation of products with regard to material health and recyclability. When designing and implementing Cradle to Cradle® products, every single constituent is therefore examined for compatibility with the environment and health.

Examples for this are the printing inks for textile products optimised in cooperation with CHT, or the reversible adhesive from DSM used for Auping mattresses. The recent EPEA publication in the journal “Müll & Abfall” analysis “Flame retardants for an effective recycling of expanded polystyrene (EPS)“. 

What added value does Cradle to Cradle® - Chemistry of Life offer?

Optimised chemicals form the basis for healthy products whose materials can be reused as nutrients for biological or technical cycles. This protects human health as well as that of the oceans, rivers and forests and makes companies part of the solution by using these chemical products. Together, we can achieve: 

  • Highest ecological product quality
  • Knowledge of all ingredients in a product
  • Cross-industry innovations
  • A positive footprint
  • Circular and future-proof products