Sorry about that — just finished reading Carl Hiaasen’s Lucky You, in which one of the characters is a hopelessly mediocre newspape editor with a fondness for alliteration… BTW, if you like a good mystery, Hiaasen’s one of the best, and environmental issues often play prominently in his books…
OK, back to business. From Japan for Sustainability, an announcement that
Mitsubishi Shoji Construction Materials Corp. and Tostem Corp. have signed an agreement to collaborate on marketing Moiss, a sustainable construction material presently being marketed by Mitsubishi. The two companies plan to establish a joint venture by 2008 for the sales project. Mitsubishi aims to boost sales of Moiss through Tostem’s extensive sales network as a result of the alliance. Tostem aims to reinforce its interior wall material line and enhance its corporate image as an eco-friendly company by promoting and expanding sales of an environment-conscious product.
Moiss is a calcium silicate building material made mainly from vermiculite, a natural mineral, manufactured by Mitsubishi Materials Kenzai Corp. and sold by Mitsubishi Shoji Construction Materials Corp. Because it is not combustible and resists earthquake damage, it helps solve problems posed by wooden housing. It also helps prolong the life of houses by repelling ants, resisting corrosion, and controlling humidity. It actively absorbs water from the atmosphere, and also absorbs and immobilizes volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are generated by other construction materials and furniture.
Developed with sustainability in mind, the Moiss product life cycle gives priority to the environment. Its main raw material is fine-grained vermiculite, a waste material produced by mines. One hundred percent of the materials used in its manufacturing process are recycled, resulting in reduced energy consumption and lower carbon dioxide emissions
When used for walls in private homes, Moiss prolongs the life of the house and helps save energy because it allows the flow of air while acting as thermal insulation. When discarded it is normally re-used as a raw material to produce more Moiss or recycled into cement matrix. It can also be returned to the soil as its performance as a fertilizer has also been confirmed.
Tell me if I’m wrong, but this certainly seems like a fine example of “cradle-to-cradle” thinking in action: a waste material is “upcycled” into a sustainable, useful and perhaps even profitable commodity.