Why you should listen
Eben Bayer co-invented MycoBond, a technology that uses a filamentous fungi to transform agricultural waste products into strong composite materials. Or, as CNN put it: "In non-scientific terms, they grind up seed husks and glue the small pieces together with mushroom root." Their products include packaging and styrofoam substitute and the now-in-development Greensulate rigid insulation board for builders. Both products require less energy to create than synthetics like foam, because they're quite literally grown. Equally compelling, at the end of their useful life, they can be home-composted or even used as garden mulch.
What others say
"There are three principles that should govern better materials. Firstly, they should be able to be created almost anywhere on the planet. Secondly, they should require considerably less energy to produce than current materials. Lastly, they should be able to be disposed of by nature's wonderful open-source recycling system." — Eben Bayer,