Cradle to Cradle® Building products and furniture

In Europe, the construction sector is responsible for nearly 50 percent of raw materials consumption. Many of the products used in buildings today contain harmful substances, preventing the material from being recycled. In addition, these may have a considerably negative impact on the quality of the air in buildings in which we spend nearly 90% of our time. 

 

For these reasons, the development and specification of healthy and recyclable materials is increasingly becoming a focus for industry and the construction sector. Interdisciplinary research teams are putting increasing effort into the study of materials cycles, while manufacturers and producers are working on the development of fully recyclable and compostable building materials. Cradle to Cradle® provides the scientific basis for the realisation of a circular economy in the construction and real estate sector.

Where is the difference to current building products and furniture?

Cradle to Cradle® quality stands for a practically endless circulation of healthy materials in closed cycles, which serves to decouple the creation of economic value from resource consumption. This is the basis for reaching a substantial improvement in the protection of the climate and environment.

Consumables contained in C2C-certified construction products and furniture are suitable for biological systems and are returned to a natural nutrient cycle. Consumer goods are sorted according to their base materials and then introduced to a suitable technical cycle. In this way, the quality of their materials is maintained and a downcycling with a loss of quality is prevented.

All materials are positively defined and developed for specific recycling paths, thus creating added values for people, the environment and business: A particulates-binding carpet with acoustic function can, for example, provide for a healthy indoor climate. C2C-certified furniture such as office chairs can not only be recycled at a high-quality level but also come with a take-back guarantee.

How does EPEA support the implementation of Cradle to Cradle® building products and furniture?

For manufacturers, it is a matter of market positioning and future business alignment to design their products so that these can also be integrated into a circular economy. Not an easy task – but one associated with enormous opportunities within the scope of the development of the circular economy.

For this reason, we have been working as innovation partner and knowledge trustee together with product manufacturers, suppliers, chemicals producers and ink manufacturers, as well as designers, on a global scale for more than 30 years. We support companies with global supply chains in the implementation of Cradle to Cradle® construction products for technical and biological cycles. We optimise all processes in cooperation with our partners. From the development of chemicals and primary materials to the take-back of certified construction products and furniture.

  • Material / chemical evaluation and optimization
  • Design for disassembly
  • C2C Certified™ certifications and material passports
  • Transparent supply chain 
  • Development of take-back systems

The EPEA science team has extensive expertise in the areas of material composition, chemicals and closed-loop recycling for construction products and furniture. This expertise is used for the optimisation of material safety and the recyclability of products. With regard to the design and implementation of C2C-certified construction products and furniture we are able to check every single constituent for compatibility with the environment and human health

Examples for the implementation of Cradle to Cradle® include tiles by Mosa Tiles, the Desso carpet by Tarkett, the Giroflex office chair, the window systems by Schüco and Lindner or the Auping bed

 

What value is added by Cradle to Cradle® inspired building products and furniture?

The optimised products not only improve the indoor climate and can be recycled but are also as far as possible made using renewable energies and under fair social conditions. This is beneficial for our climate and the environment, creates added social values and makes each of us part of the solution when buying these products. Together, we can achieve:

 

the highest ecological quality

knowledge about all ingredients of a product

transparent and fair supply chains

a positive CO2 footprint

recyclable and sustainable products

development of new market segments and business models

securing high-quality raw materials at calculable prices

Cradle to Cradle as driving factor of innovation