For our facade project, we chose for our glazing solution to go with a product known as Bioglass, an award-winning glass product made from 100% recycled bottles. One aspect of it in particular that stood out to us was it being Cradle 2 Cradle Silver certified. But what is Cradle 2 Cradle certification and why does it matter?
Architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart formed McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry around a simple idea: one man’s trash is another’s treasure. In nature, there is no such thing as waste. What one organism expels as waste, another utilizes for its own purposes, each benefiting the ecosystem in some manner. Human-created solutions, however, often come with a heavy price: toxic chemicals dispersing into the local environment, public health issues, increasing landfill usage, and simply a loss of productive material possibility. Mcdonough and Braungart’s book “Cradle 2 Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things” states that within product manufacturing, there are two spheres that should be kept separate from each other: the biosphere, for the biodegradable materials, and the technosphere, for the infinitely recyclable, yet hazardous, materials. The book also states that “being less bad is not being good”. Simply reducing toxicity and air pollution isn’t enough. Why can’t it be possible to produce increasingly beneficial by-products in the creation of something? Cradle 2 Cradle is the answer to this question: a set of strict guidelines for companies to push further towards in order to be sustainable. The four levels to the certification are “Basic”, “Silver”, “Gold”, and Platinum, with increasingly rigid and difficult requirements in order to reach. The standards have been adopted by more than one hundred different companies and government organizations like Target’s “Method”, Volvo, and even the United States Postal Service. MBDC is currently working on creating a Cradle 2 Cradle cargo ship.
McDonough, William, and Michael Braungart. Cradle 2 Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. New York City: North Point, 2002. Print.