“Google and Whole Foods are among the companies using Noble Environmental Technologies’ building material product, Ecor, made from 100 percent recycled material.

Ecor is also 100 percent recyclable and free of toxins.

Noble created ECOR in partnership with the USDA and it is currently being used by architects, designers, furniture and cabinetry manufacturers in place of wood, particleboard, fiberboard, MDF, aluminum, plastic, cardboard and other composites.

The product is 75 percent lighter than conventional panel product, the San Diego Business Journal reports.

Whole Food has used Ecor for signage, while Google used Ecor for wavy interior panels — the pulp can be shaped into waves, patterns or spheres.

Noble produces 100 million square feet of Ecor per year at its manufacturing facility in Serbia. Manufacturing began at $3 to $4 per square foot; however, the company has brought the costs down to 29 cents per square foot, the Business Journal says.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Whole-Foods-Sign-ECOR-6Looking for a non-structural building material that is as versatile as wood composite, aluminum or fiberboard but far less toxic?

That’s the promise behind ECOR, a product made from recycled cardboard, wood scraps, even agricultural byproducts such as coffee grounds and corn-stalk fiber.

Developed by Noble Environment Technologies, ECOR already is used by Whole Foods and Google. The former incorporated it into signage and ceiling elements in its San Diego area store. The latter designed the material into panels for an employee and visitor lounge, and used it for custom columns in a headquarters lobby.

ECOR has been blessed with both Cradle-to-Cradle and USDA Bio-based certifications, which recognize its green qualities. NET describes it as “nature’s composite.” It doesn’t contain the same volatile organic compounds typically found in paints, particleboard or gypsum, according to NET’s founder and CEO Richard Noble. What’s more, the production process relies on existing materials that can be recovered from community and corporate waste streams, which means its production footprint is more sustainable than for other materials options.

“It’s very natural, very strong, aesthetically appealing and easy to work with,” Noble said.

The material is a three-dimensional engineered, molded fiber. While it isn’t suitable for structural applications, it is being used for signage, trade show and retail displays, stage and set construction, room dividers, containers and packaging.

One factor behind ECOR’s growing momentum is the improving economics associated with its production process. While it used to cost $4 per square foot to make the material, those expenses are now “trending below 30 cents,” Noble said.

READ FULL ARTICLE

Sustainablog talks about ECOR

Sunday, 07 December 2014 by

Businesses are using circular economy thinking to find radical new ways to repurpose waste and save scarce resources

Group of babies in nappies crawling around
While Mexico is turning used nappies into roof tiles, Scotland is concerting them into park benches and railway sleepers. Photograph: Alamy

Conscious consumers know not to use disposable plastic bottles, or single-use plastic bags, and try to use as little packaging as possible in order to save the planet. A growing number of companies are also developing innovative ways to give waste a second lease of life.

1. Nappies to roof tiles and railway sleepers

Every parent knows that disposable nappies generate enormous amounts of waste. And with the average baby using the equivalent of 150kg of wood, nappies waste a lot of resources, too.

To remedy this, two years ago Scotland – with a total of 450,000 used nappies per day – pioneered a nappies-to-roof tiles scheme. Nappies are collected in recycling bins and sent to treatment plants, where they’re sterilised and the human waste removed. The plastics and celluloid contained in the nappies are then converted to everyday products such as park benches, railway sleepers and road signage.

In Mexico, consumer product giant P&G now turns rejected Charmin nappies intoroof tiles, while scraps from its American Pampers nappies are reused as upholstery filling. Fifty P&G plants now produce zero manufacturing waste, and it claims that repurposing the waste has created an additional value of $1bn for the company. Elsewhere, a growing number of parents are turning to GNappies. The British company makes nappies in two parts: covers that can be reused, and inserts that can be composted or even flushed down the toilet with human waste.

2. Paper to reduce food waste

Rarely does one blank piece of paper make a big difference. But FreshPaper, an organic and biodegradable sheet added to fruit and vegetables, keeps the produce fresh for two-four days longer, thereby eliminating countless tonnes of wasted food. As world demand for food keeps rising, eliminating food waste will become even more important. Today FreshPaper, first sold at farmer’s markets in America, is available in shops in several dozen countries.

3. Sustainable construction materials

San Diego-based Ecor takes cellulose fibres, a material found in wood, cardboard and even forest and agricultural waste, and turns it into new construction material. The process is surprisingly simple: the waste is mixed with water, heated, pressurised and made into sturdy panels that can be used in a variety of functions: as wall panels, tables, bowls, building walls, even glasses frames. Best of all, the products contain no toxic additives and can themselves be recycled at the end of their life-span.

4. Clothes from old water bottles

If you really need to buy soft drinks or even bottled water, make sure to recycle the bottles; they can be used for yarn. Bionic Yarn turns used PET bottles into fibres that can be used in clothes. This is how it works: the bottles are cut into chips, which are in turn shred into fibres. The fibres are mixed with polyester and spun into yarn. The end product, reports Bionic Yarn, contains 40% recycled plastic bottles, including ones from the large colonies of plastic bottles floating on the world’s oceans.

5. Agri-waste into plastic bottles

Bio-on provides an excellent reason to choose your plastics carefully. The Bologna-based company has developed a pioneering process that allows it to turn agricultural waste into biodegradable plastics. Using a fermentation process involving sugar beet, Bio-on manufactures plastics that can be used for anything from food packaging to electronics. Better yet, the process requires no chemical additives, and the end products are biodegradable, dissolving upon prolonged contact with bacteria.

6. Worms as fertiliser

Repurposing waste can be as simple as it is ingenious. In Guatelamala, Byoearthuses red worms to transform food and other biodegradable waste into organic fertiliser. Doing so, of course, reduces waste but also results in higher-quality soil.

7. Food waste to biogas

Got food waste, need energy? BioTrans Nordic has got just the thing for you, especially if you work in a restaurant, canteen or other large kitchen. The Danish company’s BioTrans tank stores food waste, where it turns into biomass. The biomass is collected by a truck for delivery to biogas plants and delivery to local customers.

8. Recycling polyester

Japanese firm Teijin didn’t set out to repurpose clothe; it’s a chemical company. But, almost as a by-product of its R&D, Teijin discovered a way of recreating polyester from itself. Because reusing clothes’ fibres has long been considered near-to impossible, Teijin’s discovery was a considered a breakthrough. It has already saved tonnes of clothes from landfill, and earlier this year, Swedish firm Re:newcell unveiled a similar process for cotton. For several years now, retailer Patagonia has sold clothes made from Teijin-recycled fabric.

Today you can wear new clothes made from old clothes and old plastic bottles, while eating food enhanced by old food – and stored in plastic containers made from agricultural waste – in a restaurant powered by food-waste energy and decorated by agricultural-waste wood panels with nappy-based roof tiles. Not too shabby.

READ FULL ARTICLE

TOP