Grass grows fast. Trees do not. And as we're surrounded by furniture and cabinetry made out of wood, of which our planet has a finite supply, our booming population could one day deforest the entire planet.
Rather than wood, what if you could use a material that was stronger, produced from fast-growing grass variants, did not need the formaldehyde and toxic chemicals needed to bind OSB/plywood/particle board together, and used only 19% of the energy to produce compared to wood products? Oh, and create manufacturing jobs and save the planet in the process?
A Cornell University research spin-off company called e2e Materials has developed such a material. Their biocomposites, formed from grass fibers and bound together by soy resin, can be produced in sheet form or molded into intricate configurations. It's fire-resistant and biodegradable. It holds fasteners better than wood and it's lighter than wood, with a strength-to-weight ratio comparable to midrange steel.
e2e Materials' TED Talk below, explaining the material and the company's mission, is a must-see. Yes it's over eight minutes long, but trust us, you need to carve the time out of your workday to watch it. (Check out the surprising stats that CEO Patrick Govang rattles off at 5:18 and learn why a particle board shelf in your apartment might actually have 21,000 miles on it.)