(ID:298) Cradle to Cradle Materials Passports to improve materials quality and recyclability

EPEA Nederland BV
scientific research and consultancy

AddressLichttoren 32, 5611BJ, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
URLwww.epea.nl
ContactHein van Tuijl, Operational Manager, vantuijl@epea.com
Line of industryConsulting and Design services; Research
Area of expertiseSustainability, materials research and science
Size51-250 employees

Role of company/organisation

EPEA's core competence is integrating science with industrial innovations to recreate materials, products and supply chain partnerships so they have positive impacts. Through innovation, EPEA works with organizations to enhance the quality and value of products and processes so they are beneficial for human health and the natural environment while improving profitability and cost effectiveness. EPEA`s role in building, renovation and innovation projects is typically: 1. Introduction of (Cradle to Cradle / Circular) concepts for the development of a beneficial footprint; 2. Mediator and active partner in goalsetting; 3. Expert partner throughout project, offering tools, research and consulting services to realize ambitious goals.

Opportunities for collaboration

EPEA has broad experience in multidisciplinary cooperation in (complex) projects. Our network consists not only of public and private organisations with which we have cooperated in vairous projects in the past, but also of a substantial group of organisations, companies, consultancy firms and architects that we have trained in Cradle to Cradle and Circular Economy concepts.

Description of idea

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To help City of Eindhoven realize their sustainability ambitions ánd to help make (regional) innovation visible, EPEA introduces the concept of Cradle to Cradle inspired Materials Passports. Materials Passports are sets of data describing defined characteristics of materials in products that give them value for recovery and reuse. Materials Passports are a marketplace mechanism to encourage product designs, material recovery systems and chain of possession partnerships that improve the quality, value and security of supply for materials so they can be reused in continuous loops or beneficially returned to biological systems. This is done by adding a new value dimension to materials quality. This new dimension is based on the suitability of materials for recovery and reuse as resources in other products and processes. We distinguish between biosphere, technosphere and integrated Materials Passports; - Biosphere Materials Passports Biosphere Materials Passports are issued for materials that are consumed by the user and cannot be realistically recovered for reuse. These materials flow back into the biosphere where they become nutrients for new organisms or, at a minimum, pose no environmental threat or health risk: - Technosphere Materials Passports Technosphere Materials Passports are issued for materials that provide a service to the user in their application. These materials are recovered after a defined use period and reused in continuous cycles and in new applications time after time. - Integrated Materials Passports A complex product containing biosphere and technosphere materials carries an integrated passport, describing how biosphere and technosphere components can be separated to become material resources. Materials Passports stimulate improvement of materials quality and recovery, providing solutions to the challenges of resource scarcity/exhaustion and environmental and degradation. EPEA has succesfully applied Materials Passports as a tool to define and retain materials value in various projects with partners, ranging from international giants such as Maersk and Puma to Park 20/20 in Haarlemmermeer and City Hall Venlo in The Netherlands. In all reference projects, the introduction of Cradle to Cradle inspired Materials Passports has been a very succesful catalyst for innovation in the supply chain leading to products and materials that are healthier, safer and optimally designed for materials recovery. You may find a short video about C2C Materials Passports by our partner Maersk under this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRgp9tcOwaw

Type of ideacombination of product and service
Category of ideatechnical; design; work flow; financial
Enabling conditionsEPEA believes best results are met in a multidisciplinary team with a set of common goals and a shared understanding and agreement of the road towards those goals and the tools to be used. C2C inspired Materials Passports are a tool developed by Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart and EPEA scientists, the intellectual property of the tool and all associated rights remains with them. The tool can be, and is frequently, adjusted in appearance and details in order to meet the project-specific goals.

Stage of development

Proven innovation: it has been used in practice on a small scale.

Substantiation stage of development

C2C inspired Materials Passports were piloted in a number of succesfull Cradle to Cradle projects by EPEA and various partners. The tool was officialy presented to the public in a 2012 article by Hansen, Braungart and Mulhall in the Springer Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology under the name `Nutrient Certificates'. EPEA has worked on C2C inspired Materials Passports with a.o. Maersk, Brabantia, Puma, City of Venlo and Park 20/20 / Delta Development Group.

Provability contribution to sustainability

Underpinned contribution to sustainability; this can be shown on the basis of experiments or calculations.

Step in the right direction

A critical component of design for sustainability is the selection of materials and products. How the ingredients of products are chosen, acquired, used, and eventually redeployed has a profound effect on human wellbeing as well as environmental performance. Using C2C inspired Materials Passports; # materials are evaluated for their suitatbility as nutrients in biological or technical cycles; # their positive characteristics are described, giving them value for recovery and reuse; # supply chain partners are motivated to optimize their products and designs; # chain of possesion partnerships are encouraged; # materials recovery is facilitated ánd financially interesting for multiple partners;

Flexible idea

C2C inspired Materials Passports are a tool that can be adjusted to meet and facilitate the project specific goals. They are flexible to such extent that they remain tools for the transition to a circular economic model based on the Cradle to Cradle principles; - Waste equals food (everything is a resource for something else) - Use current solar income - Celebrate diversity (bio-, conceptual- and cultural) The aim is to make a step beyond traditional sustainability approaches of reducing negative impacts. Instead, C2C inspired Materials Passports are designed to facilitate a positive environmental footprint.

Good investment

C2C inspired Materials Passports are designed to redefine materials quality so that they become financial, social and/or environmental assets instead of a demolition liability. To make optimal materials choices, materials are evaluated on human- and environmental health criteria. Their potential for recycling or return to the biosphere is also evaluated. The data becomes input for the Materials Passports that are in turn used as a tool along the chain of possesion to stimulate materials recovery and reuse. Reference projects were mentioned earlier in this call. EPEA is more than willing to present them in more detail in a next step.

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