Clean production is a way of designing products and manufacturing processes in harmony with natural ecological cycles.
It takes a life cycle view of all materials flows, from extraction of the raw material to product manufacture and the ultimate fate of the product at the end of its life. In short, clean production includes:
- Clean process - safe manufacturing and production systems
- Clean products - non-toxic, reusable and recyclable products
- Closed loop systems - material reuse and recycling
- BioSociety - human and ecosystem stability, diversity, and sustainability
Clean production is based on the basic idea that nature is effective. Our global ecosystem, in which all things are interconnected, is entirely driven by solar and renewable energy - and waste simply becomes the nutrient for another cycle. Learning from nature and being aware of our complex human and economic systems, advocates of clean production believe that our production systems should promote:
- Biological and social diversity.
- The elimination of toxic inputs and waste.
- The judicious use of renewable energy and materials.
- A closed loop and sustainable product design.
- Human sufficiency and the equality of access to resources.
- Continuous adaptation based on increased understanding of ecological realities.
- The proximity principle, which encourages the solution of environmental problems close to their source.
- The precautionary principle, which states that where there is a threat of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full
scientific certainly should not be used as a reason for postponing precautionary action.
Creating nontoxic materials, reducing our unsustainable consumption, and promoting closed loop systems by making the producers of products responsible for their entire life cycle are all related to work toward zero waste. Visit the Clean Production Action website to learn more.