Wood, stone and brick are likely what first comes to mind when you think about essential building blocks. But, today there are many other options for earth-conscious builders, like wood made from old newspapers or roof tiles created from discarded sanitary products.
4 Recycled Building Materials you would never Believe Existed
Did you know that Americans throw away more than 250 million tons of municipal solid waste annually? Although much of it winds up in landfills, more of this trash is now becoming the foundation of recycled building materials.
From tree to paper and back to wood again, NewspaperWood brings the modern newspaper full circle.
The Dutch designers of NewspaperWood found that compressed newspaper could be useful in various home applications.
They created the new building material by coating individual sheets of old newspaper with glue and then tightly rolling the glued sheets into logs. NewspaperWood even uses a type of glue that is solvent and plasticizer-free.
2) Nappy Roofing
Nappy Roofing gives us the feeling that recycled building materials can be made from just about anything. Knowaste creates roofing tiles and other useful plastic materials from discarded diapers and other personal hygiene products.
These recycled materials are beneficial to the environment, because they reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as incineration.
Plasphalt, a proprietary mix of asphalt and recycled plastic, is an environmentally-friendly alternative to paving roads. It is made of grains of unsorted plastic waste, which replace the sand and gravel traditionally used in asphalt production.
Although Plasphalt costs 10 percent more, the roads have been found to show less wear and tear, and may last much longer.
4) Mushroom Walls
Another recent innovation in recycled building materials is walls made from fungus. Three inventors started a company, called Ecovative, which produces building products made from mushroom roots.
The mycelium fibers form the basis of a new eco-friendly material that looks a lot like particle board. Known as Mushroom Material, it is 100 percent biodegradable and is advertised to be stronger than concrete.
Forward-thinking inventions like these four continue to raise the bar in the environmentally conscious building community. If this kind of progress continues, one day we may all ride on plastic roads to work in buildings with mushroom walls.