Green Countertops – Trends in Eco-Friendly Surfaces

Bamboo Countertop

Bamboo Countertop

You can find green countertops in dozens of materials, but not all them are the type of “green” that is environmentally friendly. Countertops made from renewable resources like recyclables or fast-growing organic materials are in demand as homeowners adopt a lifestyle that is more responsive to environmental needs.

If you’d like to install green countertops in your home, here is a list of today’s leading options.

Recycled Wood

Rather than demolished and sent to the land fill, old wood structures are being disassembled and much of the wood is being re-purposed. Counters made from old barn wood or salvage warehouse wood, for example, can be stunningly beautiful. Strengths: Beauty and durability. Weaknesses: Proper seal must be maintained to make the surface non-porous. May require refinishing in 10-15 years. May scratch, but scratches can be sanded out.

Recycled Glass

Waste glass is being diverted from the waste stream, crushed and bound with concrete or resin. Each recycled glass countertop is unique and artistic, durable and easy to clean. Strengths: Durability and variety of appearance, easy to clean. Weaknesses: Fairly expensive, may scratch.

Recycled Paper

Paper recycling has been going on for years. But only recently has it been pressed and hardened with resin, then formed into bath and kitchen counters. Paper Stone is one of the leading companies making these countertops. Paper Stone products feature 50%-100% post-consumer recycled paper. Strengths: Affordable, fairly durable. Weaknesses: Somewhat plain in appearance, can be scratched easily.

Recycled Tiles or Tiles made with Recyclables

Both use salvaged ceramic, glass, porcelain or other materials to make attractive kitchen and bathroom countertops that can be very good-looking. Strengths: Variety of appearance, easy to maintain. Can be very affordable. Weaknesses: May chip easily, depending on the specific material.

Recycled Plastic

HDPE and other plastics are being salvaged and recycled into bathroom and kitchen countertops. They have the look of solid surface countertops like Corian. Strengths: Attractive and very durable. Weaknesses: Not very heat resistant, susceptible to scratches.

Recycled Metal

Stainless steel is being salvaged and re-purposed for countertops. These durable counters cost more than those made from non-recycled steel, but many homeowners are willing to pay extra to support the environment. Strengths: Easy to clean and maintain, attractive. Weaknesses: Can be scratched somewhat easily.

Bamboo

This fast-growing grass has the strength and beauty of wood. The bamboo can be formed into panel or the grain ends can be used to make a butcher block countertop. Strengths: Attractive and unique. Weaknesses: Not very heat resistant. Will need to be re-sealed periodically.

Kirei Board

Made from sorghum straw, Kirei board has a very unique appearance. This is a sustainable, quickly renewable product. Strengths: Appearance is attractive and unique; Kirei is affordable. Weaknesses: None.

These are currently the most prominent green countertops you’ll find, but each year new kitchen and bath countertops are being produced that use recycled or salvaged materials, organic and inorganic. If you’re committed to reducing environmental impact in your building or remodeling project, there have never been more attractive, durable and affordable options for green countertops than there is right now.

 

1 Response

  1. AndrewPittsburgh, PennsylvaniaWhen I remodeled my kicehtn several years ago, I bought a microwave that was considered to be a space saver at the time. Recently, that microwave died and I had to replace it. I needed a microwave that would go where the other one had been. As it turns out, the GE Spacemaker microwave was the only one I could find that would work in the same space. I chose the JEM25 model because I don’t really need a lot of bells and whistles. This one does come with several features that my other one didn’t have like a turntable, which is nice. It’s only 800 watts but I just use it to reheat and warm things so that works great for me. Besides, my old one wasn’t even that powerful. This one has one-touch buttons and an add 30 seconds button. You can turn off the turntable if you have larger dishes to heat. You can choose between a black or white model, and I got the black. So far, I couldn’t be happier with this microwave.

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