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10 Hottest Green Design Materials

Nontoxic Paint

Think breathing the air during the morning commute is rough on your health? Try breathing inside your home after a fresh coat of paint.

It's the volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in the paint that are toxic both to humans and the environment. They eat away the ozone layer and contaminate groundwater.

In the last decade, though, new paint formulations have come out that are lower in VOCs. There are even no-VOC options. These greener paints are now mainstream, offered by most big paint manufacturers, and they don't cost much more than the regular, high-polluting stuff.

You might make up the money, too, when you go to dispose of the extra paint -- low- and no-VOC paint isn't considered hazardous waste, so there's no extra disposal charge [source: EarthEasy].