20 green, natural & raw material examples

Table Of Contents

Natural Earth Clay & Plaster

– Natural clay is a combination of clay and water

– Natural clay has a completely natural, earth-made composition, meaning that it can be recycled without causing any environmental damage

– Using natural clay is much more energy efficient in comparison to polymer clay

– If/when natural clay ends up in a landfill, it do so without requiring any specific maintenance or treatment since it breaks down without damaging the environment

– Natural clay bricks are very durable and generally last up to 100 years before further maintenance is necessary

Cardboard

– Although cardboard is an organic material, as a rule of thumb, try to ensure that the cardboard you buy has been sustainably sourced. It is not uncommon for organic materials to be unsustainably sourced before being sold

– Cardboard is recyclable: Despite this, it’s always safer to look out for FSC-certified cardboard (a guarantee that the forest is and has been sustainably maintained

Benefits of cardboard include:

  • Reduce manufacturing CO2 emissions
  • Fully recyclable and biodegradable
  • Made from 100% recycled material

Sustainable Paint (Low VOC)

– Eco-friendly paint is paint that does not contain any harmful or health-affecting gasses or chemicals (referred to by scientists as VOCs/Volatile Organic Compounds)

– Such gasses or chemicals can cause a variety of health issues ranging from a headache to visual impairment, according to research conducted by the EPA

– According to the EPA, non eco-friendly indoor paint is (as expected) more harmful in comparison to outdoor paint since the airflow is more contained

– Here are the Eight Best Eco-Friendly Paints For A Nontoxic Home

Bamboo Fiber & Hardwood

– In comparison to a tree taking more than 30 years to reach full growth, bamboo can grow to it’s full size within 3-4 months

– Bamboo is also 100% biodegradable and 30% more absorbent than other eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton

– Bamboo fibres boast antibacterial properties, meaning that adding chemicals to the surface isn’t necessary (this is due to a substance known as ‘bamboo kun’), a unique anti-bacteria and bacteriostasis bio-agent

– In recent years, bamboo has become an increasingly popular eco-friendly alternative for every-day products (in place of plastic and other harmful materials)

Bamboo is not however without its flaws. Here are some of the issues with bamboo chemicals often used in extraction and production processes:

Harsh Chemicals
For bamboo to be turned into a bamboo viscose, cellulose is extracted from the plant through the use of harsh chemicals.

Mono Plantations
Often forests and established ecosystems are removed in order to make way for mono plantations, and biodiversity is decreased. 

Produced In A Closed-Loop System
When bamboo fabric is produced in a closed-loop system, toxic waste is still produced. How each company cleans up this waste is a vital indicator of how sustainable and ethically-minded they are.

Hemp

– Hemp is grown without the use of added chemicals (such as fertilizers and pesticides), and yields approximately 250% more fiber in comparison to cotton

– Once fully grown, hemp returns 60-70% of the nutrients that it takes from the soil

– During the hemp:fabric conversion process, cotton uses 50% more water in comparison to hemp, highlighting just how sustainable a material hemp is

– Hemps eco-characteristics include:
– Recyclable
– Reduces pesticide usage – Biomass fuels
– Versatile material
– Bioremediation (cleans the environment)
– Hemp alternatives can help fight against deforestation

Organic Cotton

– The methods used to produce conventional cotton are far from sustainable. The eco-friendly alternative to conventional cotton is organic cotton

– Organic cotton qualifies as a pesticide, fertilizer and GMO-free material

– Organic cotton also uses significantly less water during production

– Despite this, it is estimated that approximately 1% of the global (25 million tonnes) of cotton is actually organically produced

– Putting conventional cotton production into perspective, it takes around 2,700 litres of water to produce the cotton required to make just one single t-shirt, according to the WWF

– When we compare this to organic cotton water output (for a single t-shirt), it is estimated that organic cotton only requires around 243 litres (more than a 1000% less), according to The Soil Association

– In 2014, research from The Textile Exchange revealed clear and measurable environmental benefits of organic cotton production in comparison to conventional cotton

Soy-Bean Fabric

– Soy textiles are produced from plant fibres and spun using soy-food (i.e. soy-food remains/leftovers)

– In comparison to materials such as polyester, soy fabric biodegrades much quicker

– Soy fabric can even be dispersed onto compost once it can no longer be used, due to its biodegradable composition

– Soybean fabric is both anti-bacterial and UV resistant, making it a perfect clothing material in warmer climates

– Soy fabric is extremely soft and comfortable, and often referred to as ‘vegetable cashmere’

Cork

– Cork trees retain a vast amount of CO2

– Cork forests help to prevent erosion which can counteract desertification in arid locations

– Harvested cork is an example of harvesting a resource sustainably, without having to fell any trees

Teak

– Teak trees can grow without fertiliser or irrigation

– Teak tree plantations in South America provide a sustainable option for countries such as the USA, due to its close proximity to teak growing in South Asia

– Teak plantations can help maintain the soil resource which would otherwise be remove during the logging process

Corn Starch

– Up to 65% less energy is required for the manufacturing of corn-based plastics in comparison to that required with conventional plastics

– Corn starch is a highly renewable resource and does not contain any toxic chemicals

– Bioplastics are easily recycled, making them the perfect alternative for the food industry

– Bioplastics can be incinerated and return nutrients to the soil to help future plant growth

Bio-Compostables (Bio-Plastics)

– Bio plastics are highly biodegradable & recyclable, which reduces the amount of waste normally ending up in landfills and oceans

– Significantly less energy is required to manufacture bio plastics

– Corn based bio plastics require up to 65% less energy to manufacture in comparison to conventional plastics

Recycled Glass

– Significantly less energy is required during the process of recycling glass in comparison to producing glass deriving from raw materials

– Water and air pollution is reduced significantly when producing glass using recycled glass

– “According to industry estimates, 80 percent of all recycled glass eventually ends up as new glass containers.” – Thought Co

Recycled Polyester

– Be reusing and recycling polyester you can help to reduce and prevent further landfill waste

– Recycled polyester is just as strong as virgin polyester and produces up to 30% less CO2 during the manufacturing process

– Utilising recycled polyester reduces the demand for oil since the demand for plastic would consequently decrease

– Recycled polyester is a stretchy and durable material

Aluminium Bottles

– Aluminium bottles weigh very little (perfect for an active lifestyle)

– Aluminium bottles are durable and can withstand high temperatures and pressures

– Aluminium bottles, unlike other metals, are not prone to rusting and require little maintenance

– Only around 3% of plastic is recycled in the US, in comparison to around 68% for aluminium cans

Recycled Paper

– Paper that is incinerated exhibits around 20% more CO2 in comparison to C02 levels when recycling (paper can be recycled up to 4 – 5 times)

– Recycled paper requires up to 30% less energy in comparison to manufacturing virgin paper

Felt

– Felt is both low impact in terms of environmental footprint and also completely biodegradable

– Felt has both insulating and waterproof properties

– Hence felt providing great protection during all weather conditions

– Felt is used in a variety of different industries, such as clothing, engineering, agriculture

– Felt can attenuate sound a reduction of up to 50%)

Solar Cells

– Solar cells help to combat cardio and respiratory health conditions (there are multiple health problems associated with fossil fuels)

– You can reduce your carbon footprint and at the same time save money on your energy bills by adopting solar cell energy

– In order to generate conventional electricity, thousands of litres of water is used in the process

– Solar energy, on the other hand, can generate a lot of power without using any water

Reclaimed Rubber

– Recycling just four tires could save up to 300 pounds of CO2

– Recycling rubber help to reduce rubber waste from ending up in landfills, roadsides and oceans

– Reclaimed rubber can be recycled and used for electrical insulation due to it’s effective sealing properties

– At low temperatures, natural rubber is extremely flexible

Reclaimed Wool

– Wool has an exceptionally long lifespan

– The water temperatures used in wool textiles is much lower than that used in comparison to other materials (i.e. a lower environmental impact)

– Wool is recyclable and biodegradable (since wool is a protein-based fibre)

– “In the United States alone, close to 10.5 million tonnes of textiles end up in land fill each year, according to a 2014 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report – Wool Mark Company

Rice Hull (Rice Husk) Ash

– Rice husk ash is a renewable and highly abundant material

– Rice husk ash can be added to cement, resulting in a reduces degradation of the cement

– Rice husk ash has up to 50% lower calorific value in comparison to coal

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