10 Hottest Green Design Materials


Recycled Aluminum

Aluminum is all over -- soda cans, fixtures, industrial scrap metal, for a start. Wouldn't it be nice if it could be turned into something useful after it has outlived its original use, without having to expend a ton of energy breaking it down in the recycling process?

Companies are now recycling aluminum in a much less energy-intensive process than we typically think of when we imagine "recycling." They're cutting all that trash metal into pieces and turning it into countertops and backsplashes in the kitchen, and tiles for bathroom walls and floors.

Recycled metal isn't just for functional design, either. It's popping up in fine art, too, everything from garden sculptures to wall hangings, accent furniture and handbags. And while we're on the topic, even the medals in the 2010 Olympics contained some recycled metal.