" 'What is this?' is the first question we get," says Balance Wu, director of Balance Wu Design. That's reasonable. The Pulpop, as it's called, looks nothing like an audio speaker—but that's what it is. Wu and design partner Chin Yang took inspiration from the recycled pulp packaging used for Apple computers, but they needed to overcome a serious flaw in their eco-friendly plan: Sound doesn't carry well through pulpy paper. The hollow loop was their solution. It provides a concentrated mass of surface area for sound to reverberate through, blasting out audio with unexpected potency. (Sound originates from a small bit of electronics in the base.) The material is well designed for the afterlife, too: With 75% of discarded household electronics destined for landfills, this speaker's shell will biodegrade easily. ($56, mollaspace.com)
A version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.