Cradle to Cradle: All You Need to Know about the Sustainability Principles of Hotel Amenities

29 April 2024

Environmental responsibility, social fairness, cruelty-free production, and reduced emissions are all buzzwords used in reference to manufacturing. But what exactly do these terms refer to, and what actions are being taken to ensure the protection of our ecosystems? Furthermore, how does sustainability apply to the hospitality industry?

In this article, we will define what sustainability is, how those principles have been compiled into an official product certification known as Cradle to Cradle, and how Cradle to Cradle relates to ADA Cosmetics in our endeavors toward the sustainable production of hotel amenities.

Definition: What is Cradle to Cradle?

Cradle to Cradle is a sustainability model designed to improve product production processes, reduce environmental impact, and raise ethical standards. This principle was developed by US architect William McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart and presented in their 2002 book: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

The Cradle to Cradle concept, also known as the circular economy, represents a regenerative cycle in manufacturing that is sustainable, efficient, waste-free, and ethical. It is the antithesis of the common corporate concept: Cradle to Grave, or linear economy, which signifies the lifecycle of a product from production to disposal.

Cradle to Cradle Concept Explained

Industrialization brought about many benefits, including advancements in infrastructure, technology, societal interconnectivity, and products of convenience. However, alongside those notable benefits, disregard and ignorance toward the environmental impact of unsustainable manufacturing processes have resulted in harm toward natural ecosystems, water systems, and human health. This unsustainable process of production creates toxic waste and is known as “Cradle to Grave” or “linear economy”.

To resolve the issue of a linear economy, the circular economy, or Cradle to Cradle, was developed. Circular economy is a method of production that is regenerative, meaning the organic and non-toxic synthetic materials used in manufacturing can be continuously repurposed with the ultimate goal of zero waste.

The eco-effectiveness of the Cradle to Cradle concept is achieved through the use of carefully procured materials that are deemed safe for the environment, the employment of responsible processing methods that protect the air and water systems from harmful byproducts, and the recycling of all manufactured materials.

By implementing the Cradle to Cradle concept, products can be designed with health, sustainability, and eco-effectiveness in mind. Furthermore, each of the products can be certified, thereby validating the responsibility and care of the company toward human and environmental health.

What are the 2 Cycles of Cradle to Cradle?

Within the Cradle to Cradle principle, there are two cycles: the Biological Cycle and the Technical Cycle. These cycles are fashioned after the function of an organism and represent the lifecycles of two different product categories. The Biological Cycle is modeled for consumable products made from organic materials, also known as  “biological nutrients“, that will naturally decompose with a positive impact on the environment. On the other hand, the Technical Cycle is modeled for non-toxic synthetic materials, also known as “technical nutrients“, that can be continuously repurposed without losing their integrity or ultimately becoming waste products.

Biological Cycle for Products of Consumption

The Cradle to Cradle definition for the Biological Cycle in manufacturing is a system of producing products of consumption from organic materials that will be used then recycled via a natural decomposition process such as biodegradation, composting, or nutrient extraction.

Products of consumption include:

  • Clothes
  • Cosmetics
  • etc.
  1. Product: Item of consumption produced from non-toxic, recyclable materials.
  2. Use: Product is used by the consumer then disposed of.
  3. Biodegradation: Disposed product undergoes a natural process of decomposition back into the environment.
  4. Biological nutrients: Ingredients or materials used in the original production of the product are broken down into biological nutrients that benefit the environment in its cycle of new growth.
  5. Plants: Plants benefit from the biological nutrients naturally extracted from the product and become ready for future use in new products.
  6. Production: Plants and natural materials are used to produce new, non-toxic, recyclable products.

Technical Cycle for Products of Service

In Cradle to Cradle production, the Technical Cycle is a system of manufacturing products from non-toxic synthetic materials that can be continuously reprocessed and repurposed to eliminate harmful waste, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. Due to their synthetic nature, “technical nutrients” cannot be naturally disposed of. Therefore, products of service include metals and chemicals that can be disassembled after use then repurposed in another product of service.

Products of service include:

  • Washing machine
  • TV
  • etc.
  1. Product: Item of service produced from non-toxic synthetic and natural recyclable materials.
  2. Use: Consumer uses the product until it no longer functions, or they wish to dispose of it.
  3. Return: Product is returned to a factory to be disassembled then recycled.
  4. Disassembly: Product undergoes disassembly to separate technical nutrients.
  5. Technical nutrient: Technical nutrients are processed and prepared for reuse in a new product.
  6. Production: New product of service is manufactured using recycled technical nutrients.

What is a Cradle to Cradle Certification?

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) is a product certification conducted by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII). The Cradle to Cradle Institute is a non-profit organization that is the official source for C2C guidelines and certification. To gain certification, a product must be assessed and rated based on five criteria. Cradle to Cradle certification criteria include:

  • Material Health
  • Product Circularity
  • Clean Air & Climate Protection
  • Water & Soil Stewardship,
  • and Social Fairness.

A product will receive certification for each category of assessment, with the overarching certification level being determined by the lowest category certification received.

5 Certification Criteria

  1. Material Health: Chemicals and materials used in production are evaluated for impact on human health and the environment. If a chemical or material is found to be toxic, it will be replaced by a safe and eco-friendly alternative.
  2. Product Circularity: Measures the reusability of materials used in production to prevent waste. Product design should utilize biological and technical nutrients.
  3. Clean Air & Climate Protection: Use of renewable energy in manufacturing and mitigation of carbon emissions that can’t be avoided. Assesses the impact of manufacturing on air quality.
  4. Soil Stewardship: Water usage and soil are evaluated to determine their environmental impact on ecosystems and protect those ecosystems using sustainable farming practices, clean water, and appropriate waste-water management systems.
  5. Social Fairness: Evaluates business operations and their effect on societal relations. Implements thoughtful and equitable business practices that support human health and well-being.

There are 4 levels of Cradle to Cradle certification:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum

Cradle to Cradle and ADA Cosmetics

ADA Cosmetics is a pioneer of sustainable and eco-friendly Cradle to Cradle hotel amenities. We are proud to present our clients with the first and only entirely Cradle to Cradle certified Silver product portfolio.

Driven by a strong desire to be socially and environmentally responsible, the Cradle to Cradle certification reflects our efforts through an unbiased evaluation. This official recognition not only benefits our team and company image, but can also bring significant benefits to the hotels we service. By choosing ADA’s Cradle to Cradle cosmetics, our clients can also display their efforts toward social and environmental responsibility.

Material health

To maintain Material Health in our Cradle to Cradle supply chain, ADA Cosmetics responsibly sources the ingredients used in the manufacturing of cosmetic products. Environmentally harmful ingredients such as mineral oil, microplastics in the form of microbeads and ingredients such as parabens, silicone, formaldehyde donors, and isothiazolinones are conscientiously replaced by suitable alternatives, such as responsibly sourced palm oil.

A large majority of our ingredients are naturally sourced. We never use GMOs in our products or perform animal testing. Furthermore, most formulas are vegan and pH-skin-neutral.

Product Circularity

ADA Cosmetics features an eco-design for both the product and the packaging. The Cradle to Cradle recycling principle is applied to every aspect of the lifecycle of a product, from manufacturing to disposal. To reduce waste and enhance recyclability, RecyClass guidelines are implemented, along with mono-materials, PCR plastic, dispenser solutions, and lightweight packaging.

Clean Air and Climate Protection

At ADA Cosmetics, we care about our environmental impact in every aspect of business, from production, to transport, and finally to the disposal of our products. In an effort to reduce our CO₂ emissions, we use renewable energy, a cooling process in production, and invest in energy-efficient production technology. As a result of our commitment toward Cradle to Cradle sustainability, our sustainability management received a silver medal from EcoVadis. We are striving to consistently improve our climate protection protocols with the goal of reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions down to 35% by the end of 2026.

Soil Stewardship

Soil Stewardship is upheld primarily through our environmentally conscious wastewater management system. Measures have been integrated to limit water consumption or standardize the cleaning processes for tools used in production.

Social Fairness

Human rights and fair working conditions are just as important to us as environmental protection. At ADA Cosmetics, we have implemented the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, standards of the International Labor Organization, and OECD Guidelines to improve employee working conditions. Additionally, we are collaborating with 750 companies around the world to protect forest ecosystems, and supporting other environmental protection organizations, such as the Ocean Cleanup Foundation and Clean the World, as well as engaging in local communities. Furthermore, in our operations, we use natural, plant-based raw materials and have switched from using plastic water bottles to water dispensers and steel bottles in our operations.


What is the meaning of Cradle to Cradle?

Cradle to Cradle is a sustainable manufacturing model based on the principle of regeneration. Rather than being disposed of as waste, Cradle to Cradle products are recycled and repurposed, making them eco-friendly and economically advantageous.

What are examples of Cradle to Cradle products?

Cradle to Cradle product examples can be separated into two categories: products of consumption and products of service. C2C products of consumption can be clothes, cosmetics, personal care products, household supplies, etc. C2C products of service may include machines, dyes, technical devices, furniture, etc.

What are the objectives of Cradle to Cradle?

Cradle to Cradle aims to serve as a framework for sustainable manufacturing processes that minimize negative impacts on the environment and human health. This includes: eliminating waste, eliminating the use of toxic materials, reducing emissions, implementing responsible wastewater management systems, etc.