EPEA (Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency) was founded in 1987 in Hamburg, Germany, by Professor Michael Braungart, the founder of the Chemistry Section of the former Greenpeace, and was separated from Greenpeace in 1988.  EPEA set up its first Asian branch in Taipei in January, 2010.  The Taipei branch’s main missions are to promote the “cradle to cradle” concept to the local manufacturers and consumers, to set up communication platform between the industries and academia, to partner with corporations and academic institutions in product designs, and to establish nutrient flow networks among industries, cities, and households.
       We are honored to have two experts from EPEA Taiwan, Ms. Kai-Ting Ho (manager) and Ms. Shih-Wen Huang, today to talk to us about the concept of “cradle to cradle” (C2C hereafter.)  They have brought with them quite a few C2C-certified products for us to compare with the regular products and to see what the differences are.  Let’s thank them!
       For the longest time, we have products mostly designed “from cradle to grave” – products become waste at the end of their useful lives, or at least requiring complicated processing to become reuseable.
       That’s why Prof. Michael Braungart advocated the idea of “cradle to cradle”.  Manager Ho demonstrated to us the English version of Prof. Braungart’s book “From Cradle to Cradle”.  It’s printed using so-called “stone-paper” made in Taiwan.  Although looking like plastic, this environmentally friendly paper is actually made with stone powder and is water-proof.  The ink used in printing the book is also environmentally friendly.
       They then explained the essence of “industrial cycle” and “biological cycle” using more products.  For instance, if an old and broken chair can be taken apart and all the parts can be retooled and used in making new chairs without any waste, then it successfully applies C2C concept in an industrial cycle.
       Besides the chair Manager Ho showed in the slides, she also demonstrated another interesting product that applies C2C concept in the industrial cycle, the floor mat.  It looks exactly the same as any normal floor mats, yet when torn or worn off, it can be “retouched up” back in the factory and be returned to the consumer as a brand new mat.  Everyone present was impressed by the products and the C2C philosophy.
       Aside from “industrial cycle”, another important concept of C2C is “biological cycle”.  For example, when  used cleaning products are flown into sewage with water, they will pollute our rivers and oceans if they contain chemicals.  But if they were designed and produced with biodegradable material, then we don’t need to worry about pollution and use them comfortably.  Like the skin care products Manager Ho showed us, not only the ingredients complied with the “biological cycle”, even the bottle complied with the “industrial cycle”.  It’s really great achievement!
       Through our participation today, we all learned something about C2C.  Our two lady guests not only provided us with valuable knowledge and a revolutionary approach to reduce environmental pollution, they also gave us a very good framework to our learning.
       When we look around, we can easily find that food, transportation vehicles, and cleaning products are three items that are the most intimate in our daily life.  After we learned how to look at them from a C2C’s “no waste left behind” perspective, we decided to explore organic agriculture, electric cars, and natural cleaners.
If you are interested in more “Cradle to Cradle” material, please refer to:
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