Material Reutilization
Version 3.0

Eliminate the concept of “waste”

A significant focus of Cradle to Cradle® as a product design framework is to promote the creation of an optimized materials economy that eliminates the concept of “waste”. This category of the Program is intended to create incentives for industry to eliminate the concept of “waste” by designing products with materials that may be perpetually cycled to retain their value. The Program challenges companies to take more responsibility for creating or supporting infrastructure and systems necessary for recovering and recycling materials as the nutrients necessary to fuel our global economies.

Complimentary metabolisms

Defined materials cycles

At the Basic level of certification, all of a product's generic materials must be defined as either a biological or technical nutrient. This designation impacts the material health assessment of the product, as well as the potential for material reutilization. A product may contain both technical and biological nutrients, as long as the product has been designed so that those materials may be easily separated at the end its use period, using basic tools. A product composed of different types of technical nutrients must also be designed for disassembly to facilitate cycling of various material types.

Externally managed components

The concept of Externally Managed Components (EMCs) is being introduced for the first time in Version 3.0 of the C2C CertifiedCM Product Standard. An EMC is a sub-assembly, component, or material within a product that is exempt from the general requirement of full characterization to the 100 ppm level because it is managed as a unit in a technical nutrient cycle, as part of a supplier or manufacturer commercialized nutrient management program. An EMC must:

  • Comply with the Technical Nutrient Banned List (.pdf)
  • Offer no avenues of exposure for harmful chemicals during its use and end of use (emissions testing is required)
  • Be completely managed as a unit (meaning that the unit may be returned to the supplier, manufacturer, or a third party program for complete and responsible recycling)

EMCs have been included in the Standard as a way of allowing complex, contained components (such as electric motors, motherboards, or photo-voltaic panels) to be included in a certified product without the considerable cost of full definition and assessment.

‘Material reutilization score’

The material reutilization score is based on the inherent recyclability or biodegradability of the product, combined with the amount of recycled material and/or rapidly renewable content used in the product. This score provides a benchmark for achievement in Material Reutilization.

Material Reuse Equation

Nutrient management strategy

To achieve Gold and Platinum levels of certification, a nutrient management strategy must be developed and then implemented. These strategies may take different forms depending on the intended use of the product and the existing reutilization infrastructure. Examples of nutrient management strategies are:

  • Educational outreach for products designed to be cycled within common municipal systems or products designed to be composted;
  • Partnerships to support more effective municipal recycling and composting programs;
  • Partnerships with third party private materials cycling programs;
  • Collaboration within industry-specific cycling programs;
  • Product-as-a-service and product leasing strategies;
  • A retail outlet sponsored collection program;
  • Product or company specific take back or collection programs.


Version 3.0 Standard Requirements

See Version 2.1.1 standards

The table below lists each requirement within the Material Reutilization category. To achieve a given level, the requirements at all lower levels are to be met as well. The Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Product Standard provides interpretation and suggested methods for achievement.

basic
  • Each generic material in the product is clearly defined as an intended part of a biological or technical cycle
bronze
  • The product has a Material Reutilization Score that is ≥ 35.
silver
  • The product has a Material Reutilization Score that is ≥ 50.
gold
  • The product has a Material Reutilization Score that is ≥ 65.
  • The manufacturer has completed a “nutrient management” strategy for the product including scope, timeline, and budget.
platinum
  • The product has a Material Reutilization Score of 100.
  • The product is actively being recovered and cycled in a technical or biological metabolism.


Program References

ASTM International
Compost-ability testing standards for plastics and other materials not generally known to be compostable.

International Standards Organization (ISO)
Compostability testing standards for plastics and other materials not generally known to be compostable.

European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
Compostability testing standards for plastics and other materials not generally known to be compostable.

German Institute for Standardization (DIN)
Compostability testing standards for plastics and other materials not generally known to be compostable.

Steel Recycling Institute
For steel parts, if actual recycled content is not known, industry-wide average may be used as reported by the Steel Recycling Institute

US Federal Trade Commission Green Guides
If designing a product to be recycled in municipal systems, and where no other regional regulations are in place, the US FTC guidance on municipal recyclability claims apply.