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10 Hottest Green Design Materials

Recycled Paper

Even with e-mail, PDF and texting, paper is a huge part of our lives. Newspapers, brochures, printable coupons, direct mail, stacks and stacks of printer paper, and loose leaf and legal pads -- trees are giving their lives every day so we have stuff to write on.

Recycling paper to make more paper is one way to help save trees. Recycling paper to make countertops is an even bigger step. It's bigger, more profitable and even trendier than eco-paper and packaging.

Counters are formed of compressed, hard blocks of used paper covered in a nontoxic resin to make it water-resistant, heat-resistant and stain-resistant. There's no petroleum or formaldehyde involved in the process.

The material is used for bathroom counters, dining tables, floors and decorative wall panels, too.