Even if you favor traditional franks 'n' beans over tofu hot dogs and edamame, soybeans are still likely to find their way into your home as more companies develop construction and home products with soy-based adhesives, coatings, and plastics.
"Building Better With Soy" is a slogan of the United Soybean Board (USB), a group of farmers funding research into soy technology and promoting new uses for soybeans. "Soy replaces petroleum in products and it's greener; soy is self-sustaining and renewable," says Karen Fear, a farmer from Montpelier, Indiana, and director of the USB. She adds that soy is typically less expensive than petroleum, but soy-based products might be a bit more expensive at retail until they are more widely used.
Henry Ford used soy to make plastic auto panels in 1933 and soy has been used as an adhesive in wood products for more than 70 years. Today, Rust-Oleum, makes soy-based, Zinsser Graffiti Remover & Stripper that the company claims can quickly and easily remove spray paint and ink from surfaces. Sherwin-Williams uses soy-oil resin as the binder in some of its products, including ProClassic XP Alkyd interior semigloss paint and Wood Classics interior stain, and is working on the next generation of soy-based coatings.
At the International Builders' Show, a number of soy-based products are on display, including foam insulation, plywood, paints, stains, plastics, and foam for furniture and carpet backing.—Kimberly Janeway