*Go Green with Kitchen Countertops

March 20, 2011

We all want to go green and choose products promoting sustainability.  But some are not aware green products can now go as far as building materials for the home.  Is a green kitchen really possible?  Maybe not every single part of the kitchen can be made from sustainable materials.  But did you know of the green alternatives available for kitchen countertops?  Here are the options for a green, yet elegant kitchen countertop.

1.  Recycled Glass – Newest trend point to natural stone as the most popular choice for kitchen countertops.  However, natural stones suc as granite, marble, and quartz are quarried and could actually deplete earth’s resources.  A better, eco-friendly alternative is recycled glass slabs.  These can be shards of glass from old windows, used wine or beer bottles, or broken dinnerware mixed into a binding material.  Binding materials can be resins or cement-based binders. Depending on the color and design, these can actually be made to look like expensive natural stones.

2.  Bamboo or Reclaimed Wood -  Some may argue butcher’s block or wood countertops are green.  Though trees can be grown, they take a while to mature and we normally consume faster than they grow.  A more sustainable alternative would be bamboo countertops.  Bamboo is grass with a faster maturation rate and it does not die when harvested.  Another green option would be reclaimed wood or FSC-certified wood.  Reclaimed wood are those salvaged from old homes which are actually saved rather than thrown away.  Meanwhile, wood with certification from the Forestry Stewardship Council means it was not acquired from clear cutting.

3.  Paper Composite -  These are the newest eco-friendly products used as kitchen countertops.  These are recycled paper bound together by resin to make it waterproof or heat-proof.  The resin used for paper composite are usually water-based and petroleum free.  A paper composite countertop offers the same durability as laminates but it does not carry the risk posed by formaldehyde.  These have fairly the same qualities as solid surface countertops and can be fabricated easily with woodworking tools.  To improve resistance to moisture and stains, these can be sealed with mineral oil.

4.  Recycled Aluminum -  For those who prefer the professional look of stainless steel but would like an eco-friendly alternative, recycled aluminum will do the trick.  These are made from recycled aluminum shavings combined with acrylic resin.  Though not as strong as steel, it is better for the environment than mined steel which results in a lot of pollution. Although, is is just as easy to clean and resistant to heat.  To be considered eco-friendly, it should contain about 50-60% recycled material.

All these alternative green options for kitchen countertop are a definite savior to the environment. Even if some of them will not stand up to its natural counterparts in terms of durability, it is a viable option for those who are conscious about their carbon footprints and its impact on the generations to come.

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