Published: Feb. 2, 2021 By

The economy as we know it is tremendously unsuitable for our planet; especially when we are talking about the production and disposal of material waste. If there is any hope of protecting our land and the irreversible destruction of our climate, the way humans use resources needs to become tremendously more productive.  A switch in mentality among business systems, along with patterns of consumption, need to switch from a “Cradle to Grave” to a “Cradle to Cradle” mentality.

Cradle to Grave Mentality

  • Extracting Earth’s resources as if they are infinite (they’re not).

    • In order to avoid rapid depletion of Earth’s resources, we must either slow population growth or slow consumption.

  • Creating material (Cradle stage) with those resources only to have them end up in a landfill (Grave Stage) to be burned or to fester in Earth’s soil and water. 

  • This is the current mindsets of most businesses and consumers today.

Cradle to Cradle Mentality

  • The production of products of all types in a way that they can be recycled, upcycled, or returned to Earth directly or indirectly. 

  • The practices using this mentality are more productive because they imitate Earth’s natural cycle. For example, creating more sustainable packaging by studying tortoise and armadillo shells.

  • The transition from a Cradle to Grave mentality to a Cradle to Cradle mentality can start with the actions of YOU, the consumer!


Vote with Your Dollar

  • Support businesses that have a Cradle to Cradle mindset.

  • Buy with intention: buy items that are used with recycled/recyclable material; or better yet, items that will create little to no waste.

Food Waste

  • Shop with intention, eat what you buy.

  • Composting is a great way to make sure that any unavoidable food waste goes to the right place. Learn how to compost properly on and off campus here.

The Circular Economy

  • One way to develop a “Cradle to Cradle” mentality in our society is to transition into a circular economy. 

  • A Circular Economy keeps resources in use for as long as possible and regenerates materials at the end of their life. 

  • The Circular Economy is based on three principles:

    • Designing out waste and pollution

    • Keeping products and materials in use

    • Regenerating goods using natural systems.

What You Can Do Now

  • Sign up for an EcoVisit to learn how to compost and get a free compost bin!

  • Good luck! And remember, living zero-waste isn’t easy in our world. Allow yourself to make mistakes and get better, it doesn’t happen in a day!