No, you canít build walls out of tofu, but soy is another immensely useful plant that is used for insulation, carpet backing, paint strippers and more. While soy fibers may not be a substitute for wood, soy can make traditional wood products safer. Soy-based chemicals can replace the potentially dangerous formaldehyde, glues and other solvents.
Cork is made with bark rather than the core of a tree. That means it re-grows faster and is more sustainable in some ways than many traditional wood products. It is a popular flooring material, and is growing into other areas of construction and remodeling.
Cardboard construction isnít just for kids. A couple of plywood substitutes on the market are made primarily with recycled cardboard.
Similarly, recycled newspaper is being used to create fiberboard products for roof decking and much more. For example, Homasote is a New Jersey company that claims to recycle up to 250 tons of newspaper each day into construction materials.
Maderon is a recyclable Spanish furniture-building material made primarily of crushed almond, hazelnut and walnut shells. The shells are ground into a paste, then mixed with resin and molded into chairs and other furniture.
Look closely at plywood. The fibers look a lot like straw, so itís no stretch to imagine particleboard from a variety of straw varieties, including wheat, oat and flax straw. All these are available and useful alternatives to traditional pressed wood products.