From the earliest of times, humans have adapted natural materials to their needs: mud to make houses, animal skins for clothing. Today, we rely on industrial processes to meet our needs. But this comes at a cost: for example, at least 8,000 chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles. And a quarter of the world’s pesticides are used to grow just one crop, cotton. So many companies are looking at new ways of producing everyday materials like insulation and textiles. Some of them are re-inventing old techniques; others are using 21st Century technologies. But they are all using natural materials that are either abundant, like sand, or waste materials from industry that would otherwise go into landfills.