Materials

Paulownia: A Wood That’s Both Strong and Ultralight

Paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa) is the second lightest wood in the world. The tree is native to Japan and Korea. Perhaps the wood’s greatest attributes is that it’s both lightweight and strong. The Average Dried Weight is 18 pound per cubic foot (or 280 kg/m3) according the Wood Database. Paulownia is also one of the most …

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Looptworks: Products Made Of 100% “Excess” Material

I’ve been testing some Looptwork products, and they are amazing. Here’s why: the company makes all their products from 100% industrial “excess” materials. That means every zipper, button and thread used in their designs was about to be thrown out. For example, the Hoptu Laptop Sleeve shown above is made with 100% upcycled nylon neoprene …

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Ultra-Efficient Design Meets Low-Impact Manufacturing: Patagonia Wetsuits

If you’re not a surfer or a diver, a wetsuit may seem like a fairly specialized or even obscure piece of equipment. But once in a while, a product arrives on the market that’s noteworthy not only for how well it performs its job, but also for how it’s designed and produced. Such is the …

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Efficient: Bamboo Toys

The Contina line by Hape International is said to be the first range of 100% bamboo toys. They are colored with natural, water-based paints. The full range is available from Hape through Amazon. Found via: Eco Child’s Play

Bloxes: Modular Cardboard Furniture

Cardboard can be incorporated in modern design pieces — check out this impressive gallery of cardboard furniture. Bloxes (shown above) are the latest option in cardboard furniture. The corrugated cardboard puzzle pieces lock together to form sturdy shapes such as chairs, walls, and play forts.

Cocona: A Fabric Enhancer Derived From Coconuts

Cocona is a natural fabric enhancer that is made with activated carbon. The activated carbon is derived from coconut husks — it is a “waste” product of the water filter industry. But what does Cocona do exactly? It is said to help traditional fabrics resist moisture, control odor and shield ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Activated carbon …

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Optimal Material For Mattresses: Natural Latex

I’ve come to the conclusion that natural latex is the optimal mattress-making material. I’ve tried all kinds of mattresses: goose down, wool, foam, cotton futons and box spring mattresses. But I have to say that my first few nights sleeping on a latex mattress were the most comfortable I ever experienced.

A Paint Stripper Made From Corn

Conventional paint strippers are usually very toxic substances that you’d be better off not bringing into your home. But one company, Green Products, has created a bio-based paint stripper and solvent called aMAIZEing.

Biopavers

We mentioned previously that using porous pavers is an effective alternative to paving with concrete. They make patios and driveways less erosion-prone and they do not get as hot as hard-surfaced pavement. Now a company called Biopaver is trying to take things a step further by introducing a new type of paver designed to catch …

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MetaEfficient: Metal-Free Inks by Ecoprint

Not many print houses put much thought into making their production processes more efficient or non-toxic. Ecoprint, based in the Washington DC area, is different. They have developed their own “eco-inks”. These inks are specially formulated to be free from toxic metals like copper and barium. The Ecoprint shop also runs on 100% wind power, …

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Transefficient: Porous Pavers

Porous pavers are permeable replacements for concrete or other hard surfaces. They reduce rain water runoff by 90% thus avoiding erosion. Less pollution reaches the waterways because the rain water penetrates the underlying ground more effectively. Permeable pavement is slightly different — it looks like concrete but is structured to be porous so that rain …

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Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is inexpensive, looks great and is a renewable resource. Bamboo flooring is similar in appearance to hardwood but is even more durable in terms of scuffing, wear and expansion. The bamboo is harvested in plantations that take only 3-4 years to reach maturity. Although still not widely used, it is perhaps the most efficient …

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