Every year, tons of wood, paper, and other cellulose-based materials are recycled - and tons more burned or otherwise disposed off. Wouldn’t it be great, if manufacturers could find a way to cheaply collect and reuse all that raw material into making another which can be used elsewhere? One exact such product that may help clear that hurdle of low-cost sustainable manufacturing rings in the market as ECOR, a material produced by San Diego-based Noble Environmental Technologies.
Yes, there’s a new green building material on the block! It is light, strong, and flexible, and can be made into just about any shape, including complex molded shapes – that too without using any glue, harmful chemicals, or toxic ingredients. Made using only water, heat, fiber, and pressure, ECOR takes a low-value product (waste fiber) and converts it into a high-value green building material. ECOR is made from waste fiber, water, and heat. It is 100% bio-based, 100% comprised of recycled waste materials, 100% recyclable, and is cradle-to-cradle compliant.
ECOR was developed using principles of waste stream reduction and diversion with the goal of solving one of the world’s most challenging environmental problems - waste disposal and diversion. ECOR is said to contain no toxic adhesives, additives, formaldehyde, or other sources of off-gassing, and to produce virtually zero airborne VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). In addition to being a ‘clean’ green building material, because ECOR is made from waste fiber, which is widely available.
Basically, ECOR is an Advanced Environmental Composite Panel formed from the conversion of abundant cellulose fiber, pressure, and heat. Made from waste cellulose, these panels are dense slabs reminiscent of cardboard or fiberboard. The panels are produced in 4’ x 10’ sheet in various thicknesses. Fibers are sourced from Old Corrugated Cardboard (OCC), Old News Print (ONP), office waste, forest waste, agricultural fiber, and even bovine process fiber. ECOR enables waste materials, ordinarily burned or land-filled, to be converted into a strong and exceptionally versatile structural composite panel from which thousands of high performance, environmentally superior, non-toxic, clean and healthy products for a myriad of applications and markets can be fabricated.
Today, ECOR panels are available in a wide range of configurations from single and multi-ply panels to an extremely versatile range of three-dimensional assemblies. Internationally ECOR is available in a variety of colors and with several treatments to enhance fire, acoustic, and moisture performance. ECOR has been used across a broad spectrum of industries and applications by some of the largest and most well-known global brands. Panels when ordered on volume, can be priced competitively or less than MDF and particleboard.
Wide Format Printing: ECOR is an ideal material for making sign, graphic and display boards. It has great strength, durability and structure that more or less results into solutions that lower costs that would otherwise go into materials, logistics and installation.
Furniture & Fixtures: ECOR can work with your vendors or provide complete Furniture & Fixtures solutions, starting at the early stages of design, and ensure that materials are selected to meet sustainability goals and project budget.
Architectural Interiors: ECOR can design, and re-design interiors following the spacial arts of environmental and circular design in an active manner, respecting the building skeleton while
anticipating the human interactions within its boundaries. ECOR, the substrate can be used for Acoustics, decorative Surfaces & Walls, Interior Non-load Bearing Wall as well as window coverings.
ECOR provides the opportunity for retailers and brands to convert their waste streams into material that can be used for their graphics and displays, commercial packaging and even construction of new stores. Google, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Toms Shoes and global brewer, Heineken are among the companies using ECOR — Whole Food has used ECOR for signage, Google for wavy interior panels and Toms’ for shoe hangers. Heineken converts its spent brewers grains, paper and cardboard waste into a range of ECOR materials, which later on is used by the company and its vendors to produce their retail graphics, point of purchase displays, commercial packaging and perhaps even the 6 beer bottle boxes.
Though the material is not yet available in India, the Company is looking for strategic investment partners that have an interest in funding ECOR-based solutions in India to transform into a range of sustainable building materials and engage in a circular economy.
Pim Dekkers Contemporary Designs works on improved furniture pieces which contain bent shapes and veneer. The dresser is made up from a 15 mm biodegradable particle board and ECOR Flat 2.5 mm, pressed into a 20 mm sheet material. Pim has worked with only conventional woodworking machinery to keep production costs as low as possible.
ECOR materials can be used for the same applications as particleboard, MDF and a range of other building materials. Given that it is stronger and lighterweight than these materials, it enables designing products like furniture to use even less materials and have the same strength properties. It works great with lazers, CNC machines, and glues. They are even working with DSM to release new products that integrate their recyclable glue that “glues like a screw”.
This article was first published in SURFACES REPORTER MAGAZINE, January 2018. Print copy can be Subscribed at: http://www.surfacesreporter.com/subscription
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