Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Cradle to Cradle"

I have heard the cradle to cradle term about product life before, but didn’t really understand the complexities until reading “Design for the next Generation: Incorporating Cradle to Cradle Design into Herman Miller Products.”  The article sites diapers as a clear example of the difference between “tool driven” product design and Herman Miller’s true cradle to cradle design that thinks past the moment a consumer makes a purchase all the way to the products (or in the case of this papers, the Mirra chair) disassembly and reproduction of  a new product from the parts. 

Reading through the quantitative complexities of each phase of design is what struck me as the most remarkable of the process.  The color coding system in conjunction with the formulas behind constantly revising the material make-up of the chair was no small feat.  Herman Miller Design is great example of the importance of knowing your suppliers and where their products are coming from, as cited in the article I reviewed last week. 

I realized I had no idea what other cradle to cradle products there were out there, and if I use any of them.  The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute has made it easy to navigate and search products.  Many brands I’ve never heard of and a few are in my daily routine, like the Methods cleaning line

Moving back to diapers, there is some hope for future moms and our future planet (aside from cloth diapers,The Real Diaper Association estimates that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used annually in the United States alone.[1] That figure is both astonishing and repulsive.  As in the Herman Miller article, most diaper companies, parents and care-takers are not thinking about the product from a “goal driven” product design, but rather a “tool driven” perspective. 
YUK!) in gdiapers.  Gdipaers are listed as an approved cradle to cradle product.  Instead of a full diaper, it’s a diaper pad that is creates less waste than traditional disposal diapers.  “

Most new moms I know have started to use g diapers, but then shift back to disposable diapers because of one reason, cost.  After doing a quick search, the lowest price at which I could find a Herman Miller Mirra chair was $450.   The question still in my mind is, “How do you determine the tipping point in which consumers are willing to pay extra for a “better”product?”

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