As â€œgoing greenâ€ continues to rise in popularity among consumers, so does the concept of sustainability in design among makers and manufacturers. The movement spans various industries and has grown to include green home remodeling and home improvement products.
Just take a look, for example, at the wide range of eco-friendly kitchen countertops available in the market today. Recycled, safe for the environment, and long-lasting, these â€œgreenâ€ kitchen countertops offer better choices for the environment-conscious homeowner.
1. Recycled glass
Available in a variety of colors and textures, recycled glass kitchen countertops have arrived in the market in style. That way, you wonâ€™t have to compromise visual appeal and aesthetics for your eco-friendly kitchen. Theyâ€™re pretty durable, too, and sturdy enough to carry the load of your kitchen appliances and related items. Among the most popular brands for recycled glass kitchen countertops are Vetrazzo â€“ recycled from beer bottles and crushed glass â€“ as well as IceStone, the surfaces of which are manufactured without harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
2. Recycled steel
Okay, we all know that mining and refining steel can pollute the environment, but if you are really after a contemporary industrial look, or in need of a heat-resistant kitchen countertop that can handle those sizzling pans, there are still eco-friendly choices available. Recycled stainless steel countertops â€“ made of 65 to 80 percent steel â€œscrapâ€ â€“ are now enjoying increasing popularity as earth-friendly alternatives for homeowners.
3. Recycled paper
Ever heard of kitchen countertops called Paperstone and Richlite? If you havenâ€™t, you might want to look these up, especially if you appreciate 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper in your kitchen countertop. Donâ€™t worry: these materials still make for solid, sturdy surfaces, and are dense and durable enough to last for many years.
4. Porcelain and ceramic tiles
Most porcelain and ceramic tiles that youâ€™ll see today contain percentages of recycled materials â€“ such as light bulbs, bottles, and â€“ well, porcelain and other kinds of ceramics. Theyâ€™re also commonly made using low-VOC adhesives, making them safer for use at todayâ€™s homes. Other eco-friendly advantages of porcelain and ceramic tiled kitchen countertops include: durability, heat resistance, easy cleaning, easy maintenance, and availability in a wide range of prices and styles.
5. Solid surface
Like ceramics and porcelain countertops, solid surface kitchen countertops contain pre-consumer recycled materials, recovered from the manufacturing process of other colors. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, and are typically made without any use of VOCs. Leading brands include DuPont Corian, Staron, Avonite, and Swanstone.
6. Plastic laminates
The plastic, of course, is recycled, and put together with adhesives that donâ€™t contain formaldehyde or other kinds of VOCs. Inexpensive, durable, and easy to maintain, plastic laminate kitchen countertops have a smooth surface thatâ€™s made of plastic-coated synthetics. The most popular and sustainably designed plastic laminate countertops today are those made by Formica, Nevamar, and Wilsonart, to name a few.
7. Engineered stone
Engineered stone countertops are made from quartz particles (often too small for use in other industries), and feature qualities that are similar to granite. Easy to maintain, scratch-resistant, and available in a wide range of colors, engineered stone countertops are known for having a long life span. Environmental enthusiasts and eco-savvy homeowners will also be glad to know that plenty of engineered stone countertops are manufactured in a sustainable process and sealed without using chemicals and VOCs. Established brands include DuPont Zodiaq, Cambria Quartz, and Silestone.
Concrete has many natural qualities that make it an ideal material for kitchen countertops. It is long-lasting, heat- and scratch-resistant, easily recyclable, and easy-to-maintain; of course, concrete can also be cast right in your kitchen, with new treatments used to eliminate future cracking. If youâ€™re on the lookout for a concrete kitchen countertop, make sure you choose something that uses low-VOC sealers.
An old-fashioned choice, wood in kitchen countertops is starting to become trendy again â€“ and eco-friendly, too. Thanks to woods from sustainably managed forests and recycled old-growth lumber, choosing wood kitchen countertops is not as â€œun-greenâ€ as it used to be. They get the job done pretty nicely, too, with tighter grains, longer-lasting quality, and a wider range of color choices.