A phrase invented by Walter R. Stahel in the 1970s and popularized by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their 2002 book of the same name. This framework seeks to create production techniques that are not just efficient but are essentially waste free. In cradle to cradle production all material inputs and outputs are seen either as technical or biological nutrients. Technical nutrients can be recycled or reused with no loss of quality and biological nutrients composted or consumed. By contrast cradle to grave refers to a company taking responsibility for the disposal of goods it has produced, but not necessarily putting products’ constiuent components back into service. Back>
Extended Producer Responsibility
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)is as an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. An EPR policy is characterized by: (1) the shifting of responsibility (physically and/or economically; fully or partially) upstream toward the producer and away from municipalities; and (2) the provision of incentives to producers to take into account environmental considerations when designing their products. While other policy instruments tend to target a single point in the chain, EPR seeks to integrate signals related to the environmental characteristics of products and production processes throughout the product chain.
Definition from OECD
“Green chemistry consists of environmentally friendly, sustainable chemicals and processes whose use results in reduced waste, safer outputs, and reduced or eliminated pollution and environmental damage. Green chemistry encourages innovation and promotes the creation of products that are both environmentally and economically sustainable.”
Definition provided by US EPA
When a company, government or other group promotes green-based environmental initiatives or images but actually operates in a way that is damaging to the environment or in an opposite manner to the goal of the announced initiatives. This can also include misleading customers about the environmental benefits of a product through misleading advertising and unsubstantiated claims. Back>
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
LCA is a technique to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process, or service, by:
Compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases
Evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with identified inputs and releases
Interpreting the results to help you make a more informed decision
Definition from US EPA
Product stewardship is a product-centered approach to environmental protection. Also known as extended product responsibility (EPR), product stewardship calls on those in the product life cycle—manufacturers, retailers, users, and disposers—to share responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts of products.
Product stewardship recognizes that product manufacturers must take on new responsibilities to reduce the environmental footprint of their products. However, real change cannot always be achieved by producers acting alone: retailers, consumers, and the existing waste management infrastructure need to help to provide the most workable and cost-effective solutions. Solutions and roles will vary from one product system to another.
Definition provided by US EPA
Is beneficial, safe and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle;
Meets market criteria for both performance and cost;
Is sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy;
Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials;
Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices;
Is made from materials healthy in all probable end of life scenarios;
Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy;
Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological or industrial closed loop cycles.
Definition from Sustainable Packaging Coalition
The goal of developing products and services, managing their use and deployment, and creating recycling systems and markets in order to eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials and conserve and recover all resources. Implementing zero waste eliminates all discharges to land, water, or air that may be a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health. Many cities and states already have set zero-waste goals. For example, San Francisco and other cities have set a goal to create zero waste by 2020. Click here for more information on zero waste. Back>