ProsDiverts materials from the landfill.
It's the environmental friendly thing to do.
ConsSome of the materials costs tend to be higher cost than more conventional kitchen counters.
Eco-Friendly Kitchen CountersIf you are considering a Kitchen Remodeling project or are looking into new and sustainable materials for you new home, consider some of the sustainable and recycled countertop product alternatives that are now available. More and more people are moving away from the plastic laminate materials because they tend to look dated and use petroleum products in their manufacture. Granite is beautiful and long-lasting but we should be careful of the depletion of natural resources. Investigate these new materials and maybe one may work for you.
Recycled Glass CountersRecycled Glass Counters is very colorful and consists of recycled glass chips and cement, concrete or resin base. These counters can be colored or stained to achieve different colors. Recycled Glass counters divert glass from landfills and usually the concrete or resin used in the binder is made with flyash, which is a by-product of coal-burning operations and this product would also end up in our landfils. Costs vary considerably around the country, but figure an average of $50 to $60/s.f.- material only.
End-grain Bamboo CountersBamboo is a very sustainable product in that it is harvested every 3 years. The plant roots survive the harvesting and the bamboo shoots simply regrow for the next harvest. Bamboo is known as a rapidly renewable material as it harvested within a 10 year life cycle. Another feature of bamboo is there is very little outgassing (Low VOCs) and will not harm the indoor air quality of your home. Colors are available in natural and light brown. Material costs are from $22/s.f.
Recycled Paper CountersThe product utilizes post-consumer recycled paper and utilizes petroleum free, formaldehyde-free resens in its manufacture. Despite the use of paper in this product, the surface is heat and stain-resistant and has a very nice looking honed surface look. Thicknesses vary from 1/4" to 2" and is has integral color. This is a low to mid-cost option and materials cost around $30/s.f.
Sustainable Wood CountersThese are typically butcher block counters which is 3/4" wood strips, glued together to form a monolithic surface. What makes this product green is that it utilizes recycled old-growth lumber, underutilized wood species or wood harvested from managed forests, for instance tree farms. The pricing of this product would be rated medium to high with material costs in the $50/s.f. range.
Recycled Aluminum CountersIf you are looking for a high-tech contemporary look, give recycled aluminum counters a close look. Most products use between 50% and 90% recycled content in their manufacture. The product is a solid surface material containing post-industrial scrap aluminum and bound together with a polymeric resin. The finish is usually a clear-coat and is food-safe. Cost of this product is from $40 to $95/s.f.
In ClosingIf you want to use a materials that is different and will be a topic of conversation at your next neighborhood party and you are sensitive to the environment, consider one of these 5 sustainable alternatives to plastic laminate, solid surface and granite. They will difinitely give you the eco-edge in the neighborhood. When looking for a sustainable product make sure the suppliers are a member of the United States Green Building Council. (usgbc), which sets a high standard for the use of products with recycled content and sustainably grown.