Public Architecture, the firm behind Scrap House, just published a free primer on the topic of material reuse. The Design for Reuse Primer, funded by the USGBC, includes 15 case studies of all sorts of projects — civic, education, residential, office, retail, interpretive, religious — calculated to show that "material reuse represents one of most creative, exciting, and effective approaches to building green."
I’ve always loved recycled paper countertops and recently noticed ShetkaStone from All Paper Recycling. SketkaStone is made with old paper and can be used in countertops, vanities, sills, and moldings. It will also hold up to use; the manufacturer told me in an email that no other similar product on the market “can match our durability.”
Let’s say you get a lot of floor traffic or you have a kid that jabs Hot Wheels into the ground. Maybe you have a dog that runs in circles, and you want a strong wood floor. You’ll probably look for a high Janka scale rating — a measure of hardness — to find something that will hold up against denting and wear. You might even consider this strand woven floor from Cali Bamboo that the company says received a 5,000+ pound score in recent tests.