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Metaefficient Hardwood Substitute: Eucalyptus

by Justin Thomas •

Eucalyptus is a very inexpensive hardwood and is comparable to teak or cherry in its strength and durability. Eucalyptus, however, grows quickly and can be sustainably harvested on plantations. Its density, straight grain, smooth finish, and honey color make it an excellent choice for flooring and outdoor furniture. Creative Woodwork International makes folding, transforming, outdoor furniture, such as the bench …

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Translucent Eco-Resins

by Justin Thomas •

EcoResin™ by 3form is a specially formulated polyester resin which incoporates a 40% post-industrial recycled content (it meets the threshold for LEED credit). The resins allow natural elements, textures and colors to be embedded in the translucent material, creating a striking effect. The interlayers can be arranged into thousands of combinations. Customization is encouraged by the manufacturer.

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Not Very Meta-Efficient: Plastics

by Justin Thomas •

Plastics are not very meta-efficient. They are toxic to all forms of life, they don’t biodegrade. Practically all the plastic that’s even been made still exists – either in landfills or in places like the ocean. There are other materials that can often substitute for plastic such as ceramics or rubber. Bioplastic is also become a viable option. In terms …

Baltix Furniture: “Eco-Buzz” Partitions

by Justin Thomas •

Baltix makes office furniture out of materials such as sunflower hulls, wheat strands and recycled newspaper. Based in Minnesota, Baltix is positioned close to the source of the agricultural fiber they use, reducing energy used in transportation. The partition pictured above is built with sunflower board paneling. The hulls were previously burned as waste. Baltix uses urethane for bonding the …

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Levy Design: Side Chair

by Justin Thomas •

This chair, designed by Josh Levy, and inspired by the earlier works of Frank Gehry, is constructed with recycled corrugated fiberboard. The surface is soft and brushed to feel like suede. Corrugated fiberboard consists of linerboard (the flat exterior) and flute (arched and sandwiched in between). When the two are adhered together, they resist bending from all directions. Designer: Josh …

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Bamboo Flooring

by Justin Thomas •

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 material for flooring.   Purchase …

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Where To Get Bioplastic Dinnerware

by Justin Thomas •

Sometimes, well, it’s just hard to find Bioplastic dinnerware! We’ve found a couple of places that have a good range of biodegradable dinnerware and related items. SimplyBiodegradable and SinlessBuying carry restaurant-style “to go” dinnerware. Gaiam also sells picnic-style place sets. Bioplastic dinnerware by Danish designers Papcorn.

Aerogel Production Methods Improved

by Justin Thomas •

Aerogel is the world’s lightest solid, as listed in the Guinness Book of Records. It is 99.8% air and is made from substances such as silica, alumina, or zirconia. It has a porous and sponge-like structure; more than 99% of its volume is in open space. It has been nicknamed "blue smoke." It has many potential uses including ultra-light, cold-weather …