Suppose you wanted to build a house made of plastic. You could go showy and build the structure out of Legos as a stunt, or you could do something practical and develop a method to repurpose granulated plastic as an aggregate in cement.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Masters of Architecture graduate Henry Miller chose the latter. As reported by inhabitat.com, the resulting material is as strong as concrete made with mined aggregate. Moreover, it creates a compelling new market for used plastic as the material simply needs to be ground up, circumventing the expensive and energy-intensive recycling process. For his efforts, Miller was awarded first place in the Component Category of the second annual Concrete Thinking for a Sustainable World competition.