When thinking of kitchen countertops, most people don't put much thought into the sustainability of the materials. Often, researching the source of materials to ensure sustainability can be difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, a few industry-independent organizations do the research for you to ensure the eco-friendliness of such products. As far as materials go, there are plenty to choose from that speak to your specific style and environmental sensibility. While no countertop material has zero impact on the planet, the following materials do their part in being kind to our planet without sacrificing style.
Recycled glass can come from bottles, mirrors, broken glass and more, doing their part in reducing landfill sizes. Usually mixed with concrete or resin, recycled glass is sold in slabs. Some manufacturers even use fly ash (a waste product in coal-burning) in the mix. Most brands offer options to stain and color the glass to match the rest of your kitchen.
Interested in this material? Consider IceStone. Made from 100% recycled glass, cement, and non-toxic pigments, these elegant and durable surfaces come in a variety of colors, including contemporary jewel tones and classic neutrals. Since 2003, IceStone customers have helped divert 13 million pounds of waste glass from landfills.
When you bind 100% post-consumer recycled paper with resin, it creates one of the most durable kitchen countertop materials. Missing a cutting board? No problem. Paper composite materials are knife-friendly. They are also virtually waterproof and heat resistant. On top of that, they tend to be easy to install, saving you labor costs.
Paperstone is a popular paper composite material for tabletops. Originally designed for use at skateboard parks, these striking and monolithic-looking surfaces are made from 100% post-consumer paper and petroleum-free resin. The non-porous surface provides a long lasting resistance to stains and water making it a perfect kitchen addition.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensures that materials like salvaged wood, butcher block, and bamboo come from sustainable sources. Both butcher block and salvaged wood reduce the need to harvest more trees. Bamboo countertops, on the other hand, use a rapidly renewable resource. In fact, bamboo is harvested in one to five years, compared to oak trees which take almost 40 years.
Non fruit-bearing coconut palm, like Durapalm, is actually stronger than oak. This rich-colored wood has an exotic feel and grain. Plus, with different sizes and weights available, it's perfect for sculptural and curved countertops.
When it comes to recycled metals, look for countertops that contain around 50% or more recycled material. Recycling reduces the amount of wasted scrap metal. While recycling metals requires some energy, it is far less than what it would take to mine for ore and extract metals from it.
The cast metal tile of Eleek is smooth, solid, and strong. When polished, they reveal a softly speckled surface resembling weathered stone. In addition, the glint of the metal creates a stunning reflection of any surrounding colors.