Remaking the way we make things
Cradle to Cradle design (C2C) is a new method of production, designed by architects William McDonough and Michael Braungart
Following nature's model, the design strategy strives to ensure that nothing is wasted, nothing is toxic, and everything can be reused.
The Cradle-to-Cradle design method follows 12 Principles
Let's look at a replacement for styrofoam that follows the 12 Principles of C2C
Principle 1 : Designers need to strive to ensure that all materials and energy inputs and outputs are inherently as non-hazardous as possible
Mycofoam utilizes agricultural waste as a building block and is held together with mycelium; organic vegetative fungus filaments
Principle 2 : It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it is formed
Mycofoam is biodegradable, decomposes in about 5 days, and adds nutritional value to soil composition
Principle 3 : Separation and purification operations should be designed to minimize energy consumption and materials use
Mycofoam is designed to be self sufficient in its durability, waterproof, and fire resistant capabilities, depending on the needs of the product
Principle 4 : Products, processes and systems should be designed to maximize mass, energy, space and time efficiency
Mycofoam grows itself, and requires no electricity to grow; the molds the foam is grown in can be used again and again without a great deal of wear and tear, and can even be grown at home
Principle 5 : Products, processes and systems should be "output pulled" rather than "input pushed" through the use of energy and materials
Mycofoam production is focused and committed to producing products to fill a human need. This is differs from most C2G processes, in which the rate of production is determined by the availability of material. This produces an rate of production that exceeds the rate of consumption, and creates a surplus and waste. Mycofoam production requires special ordering on a bulk scale, ensuring the scale of production is driven by demand for a particular product or a specific need
Principle 6 : Embedded entropy and complexity must be viewed as an investment when making design choices on recycle, reuse, or beneficial disposition
Mycofoam biodegrades into a nutrient rich compost solution in about 5 days when exposed to organic material and moisture, so it has a useful and chemically harmless second life
Principle 7 : Targeted durability, not immortality, should be a design goal
Mycofoam is more flexible than styrofoam, which increases its durability, yet can decompose in days when exposed to soil and moisture
Principle 8 : Design for unnecessary capacity or capability (e.g., "one size fits all") solutions should be considered a design flaw
Mycofoam is available in kits that facilitate in-home-production, and is designed to be customized to fit a specific needs
Principle 9 : Material diversity in multicomponent products should be minimized to promote disassembly and value retention
Mycofoam is a single component product, and when paired with other materials, can be easily removed
Principle 10 : Design of products, processes and systems must include integration and interconnectivity with available energy and materials flows
Mycofoam uses agricultural waste as a building block for mycelium roots
Principle 11 : Products, processes and systems should be designed for performance in a commercial "afterlife"
Mycofoam biodegrades into a rich compost, which put nutrients back into the soil and helps grow more food
Principle 12 : Material and energy inputs should be renewable rather than depleting
Mycofoam production sources at least 50% of its electrical power from sustainable energy sources, such as wind or solar power
mycofoam c2c cycle
By using Mycofoam in place of Styrofoam, we can greatly reduce the amount of waste we create, and utilize a product that puts nutrients back into the environment instead of toxins. We can reduce emissions from energy use, and provide a workplace that is free of toxic chemical exposure for workers. Consumers can use a product that is natural, safe, free of toxins, and help us avoid contact with harmful chemicals.
Mycofoam is just one of many innovative products that has been designed using the C2C design cycle. The Cradle-To-Cradle Products Innovation Institute has created a website where you can find all different kinds of C2C certified products and learn about the incredible difference you can make as a consumer
What C2C products will you use?