How a project can begin: Know what it is – The Material Assessment
As a typical first step in projects, the customer delivers data about the composition of his product including chemical components with their CAS-Numbers. After assessing the hazard and the exposure of a chemical these properties are put in the context of the scenario which means whether the product is e.g. a cosmetic, a packaging, a technical appliance, a detergent or a textile (scenario can be defined at first either). See also ABC-X-Categorization in the Glossary. The target is to develop and design products that are truly suited to a biological or technical metabolism, thereby preventing the recycling of products which were never designed to be recycled in the first place. The data collection is usually hard work and generally includes suppliers and their confidential data. In this relationship EPEA acts as a "know-how-trustee".
In its role as a know-how-trustee, EPEA facilitates a better business to business relationship between suppliers and customers within the supplier network. As such, EPEA receives confidential information from suppliers and can use this to formulate general statements on the Cradle to Cradle® quality of certain products and materials. This information can then be used by the customer for communication. Confidentiality is thus ensured whilst the public simultaneously receives information regarding the performance, and indeed progress, of manufacturers and their suppliers.
Conventional environmental standards are based on the cutting out or cutting down on the use of certain chemicals. EPEA uses “Preference Lists” as a basis for a different approach. These lists contain those materials that, on account of their properties, offer no cause for concern as regards our health or the environment. Rather than listing materials that should not be used, preference lists choose an alternative perspective and emphasize those chemicals or products that should be used.