Introduction to Eco-Countertops
If remodeling your kitchen could be compared to baking, then the kitchen countertop is the proverbial icing on the cake. Technically, the “greenest” countertop is the one you already have; that is, if you can refurbish it. However, if your current counter is a lost cause, consider installing one of these eco-friendly kitchen countertops.
RECYCLED GLASS KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS
What it is: Colorful recycled glass mixed into a cement, concrete, or resin base. Kitchen countertops can be integrally colored or stained for more variation and color coordination with cabinetry or painted surfaces. Note: As with all counter materials, labor and installation can cost extra and vary by region.
The perfect compromise just might be one of the new stone alternatives, which are made from a range of recycled materials from fly ash to sunflower seed hulls and look a lot like the real thing:
- Squak Mountain Stone
END-GRAIN BAMBOO KITCHEN COUNTERS
What it is: Chopping blocks made of slender rectangles of end-grain
bamboo glued into panels (usually 1½ inches thick). Available in natural or brown.
RECYCLED PAPER KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS
What it is: Recycled paper in a resin base. Available in thicknesses ranging from ¼ inch to 2 inches; integrally colored in many hues. Heat- and stain-resistant with honed-surface look. However, paper composite counters offer the same durability without all the icky chemicals. By impregnating post-consumer recycled paper with a small amount of resin, the result is a waterproof and heat resistant counter.
SUSTAINABLE WOOD KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS
What it is: Butcher-block counters, some from reclaimed or recycled lumber, others from handsome but lesser-known tree species that have been sustainably harvested. Butcher blocks can be made from slender lengths or end-grain blocks. Salvaged wood can have an incredibly beautiful patina, and it doesn’t hurt to have a good story for your party guests: “this is wood was rescued from an old church!”
- Smith & Fong
RECYCLED ALUMINUM KITCHEN COUNTERTOPS
What it is: Eleek uses 50 to 90 percent recycled aluminum to make countertop-depth pieces up to 3 feet wide with built-in front lip and backsplash, and to make tiles. Renewed Materials makes Alkemi, a solid-surface material containing postindustrial scrap aluminum in polymeric resin.
Mining metal creates a lot of pollution, so choosing recycled aluminum is definitely an eco-friendly countertop option. While aluminum is not quite as strong as steel, with these products you’d never know the difference:
Plumbtile.com carries glass, stone and tile products made by major brand designers from around the world. Featuring collections from glass, tile and stone firms such as Adex Tile, America Universal, Cosa Marble, Hirsch Glass, Jeffrey Court, Spec Ceramics and Stone & Pewter Accents, Plumbtile stocks a selection to satisfy all glass, tile and stone product needs. Turn your kitchen counters into eco-countertops!