GreenBiz Article: “Upstart manufacturer turns fiber waste into building materials”
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.