Environmental Protection

New Certification Assesses Chemical-level Sustainability

McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC, a consultancy focused on helping clients implement the Cradle to CradleSM design framework, on Jan. 28 announced the addition of a Cradle to Cradle Approved Ingredient certification, which assesses the sustainability of product ingredients for human and environmental health, as well as their recyclability or compostability.

The ingredient certification allows suppliers to position themselves as ready to meet the increasing Cradle to Cradle demands of designers, developers, and companies seeking product and material choices that serve to eliminate the concept of waste.

"The Cradle to Cradle Approved Ingredient certification makes it easier at the design stage to create ecologically intelligent products by choosing materials that meet key sustainability criteria for material health and material reutilization" said Jay Bolus, vice president of technical operations. "We invite material manufacturers to gain this designation and let their customers know about this as they qualify."

The designation is the second certification program developed by MBDC, which initially set out to identify end-products that met a series of environmental criteria with four levels of attainment, each requiring a higher achievement: Basic, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Certification benchmarks the product's ecological impact against an internationally recognized assessment process providing companies with a new marketing and selling tool, as well as a way to demonstrate tangible performance and realize continuous improvement over time.

The new certification moves the assessment down the supply chain, evaluating chemicals that can be the building blocks of various products, applying 19 core human and environmental health criteria, including heavy metal content, organohalogen content, toxicity, and biodegradability. To qualify for the designation, an ingredient must meet the "Gold" level criteria for material health and material reutilization, meaning it can be placed into either the technical cycle or biological cycle and not contain chemicals that are problematic for human or environmental health.

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