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Eco Friendly Kitchen Countertops - Recycle, Reuse, Green Kitchens

eco friendly countertops

From kitchen and bar, to laundry and bath, your countertops are important focal points that occupy the busiest spaces in your house. So they need to look good and they need to stand up to years of abuse from dishes, utensils, spills, art projects and any number of other household activities. Unfortunately, the countertop materials traditionally chosen for their appearance and durability are not eco-friendly. Maple and oak are over-harvested. Plastic laminates are made with petroleum. And the mining associated with the production of granite, marble, ceramic, concrete, stainless steel and other hard rocks and metals carries a heavy carbon footprint. Granite may also emit gamma radiation into your home.

Look for Eco Friendly Countertop Alternatives

For attractive, durable countertops that are easy on the earth too, consider the following materials:

  • Reclaimed Wood salvaged from old buildings.
  • FSC-Certified Wood or Bamboo meaning that the Forest Stewardship Council certifies that the material has 1) been sustainably managed, 2) not contributed to biodiversity or habitat loss, 3) not exploited workers, 4) positively impacted the local community.
  • Recycled Glass which is as durable as granite and comes in a wide variety of colors. Sometimes mixed with concrete or cement, look for recycled glass mixed with non-petroleum, formaldehyde-free resin instead.
  • Recycled Paper like wood, should be certified by the FSC. As with recycled glass, recycled paper countertop material may be mixed with resin. Just be sure it is non-petroleum, formaldehyde-free.
  • Recycled Content Ceramic Tiles made of up to 70 percent recycled glass, and available in a wide variety of colors, sizes and textures.
  • Recycled Plastic though keep in mind that, like any other plastic, it can scratch, burn and warp easily.
  • Recycled Aluminum made from aluminum shavings from post-industrial milling.

Though they may prove more difficult to find, you may also consider countertops made from sorghum grass stalks, sunflower seed hulls, coconut shells and "wheat board" made from the un-edible portion of wheat stalks.