Eco-friendly Kitchen Counter Tops

By Innovation Const. Co. | Feb 01, 2014
Eco friendly counter top made from recycled glass, which is available in many different colors.

Kitchen counter tops are probably the most used and abused surfaces in a home. When you think about the extreme heat and cold, spills, splashes, acidity and friction that counter tops are subjected to, and it makes sense to invest in very durable counter tops.

Recycled glass kitchen counter tops

Recycled glass, such as broken glass from recycling centers, is mixed into cement, resin or concrete and then colored and stained in a variety of ways to make stunningly beautiful and durable counter tops. Some brands even mix the cement with fly ash -- another waste material from coal burning.

The downside with recycled glass counter tops is that they are not inexpensive– anywhere from $50 to $80 per square foot. Some of the brands include EnviroGlas, Syndecrete and Vetrazzo.

End-grain bamboo kitchen counters

Bamboo is grass and thus a rapidly renewable source, making it a popular choice for green construction materials. Bamboo makes for a warm and woodsy kitchen counter top. Thin rectangles of end-grain bamboo are bonded together by low off-gassing glues into panels and then assembled into chopping blocks that look great and make a great kitchen counter.

What’s more, bamboo kitchen counters are in the mid-range price – just about $20 per square foot. Teragren and Smith & Fong are some of the known brands.

Recycled paper kitchen counter tops

Post-consumer recycled paper is now being mixed with non-petroleum, formaldehyde-free resins to make a stain and heat-resistant kitchen counter top that has a beautiful, hone-surfaced look.

Recycled paper counters are easy to install and can be cut into different sizes using basic woodworking material. Their prices fall anywhere from low to midrange. Paper Stone brand, for example, costs around $30 per square foot.

Sustainable wood kitchen counter tops

Wood from sustainably managed and harvested forests is a green choice for kitchen countertops. Butcher blocks have the classic grain and sheen of wood even though they are simply recycled or reclaimed wood.

The price is slightly limiting though, and could start from $50 per square foot. You may have to look for nearby suppliers as the costs of shipping can add up.

Recycled aluminum kitchen counter tops

Post-industrial scrap aluminum is mixed with resin and coated with clear, food-safe and non-toxic finish. The result is a sleek and clean kitchen counter top that is extremely durable and non-porous.

The downside with this type of counter top is that it is quite expensive. And if you add in the cost of fabrication and installation, the total price would come close to that of high-end granite. Popular brands include Eleek and Renewed Materials.

How do I choose an eco-friendly counter top?

You will need to take into consideration your budget, the overall cost and the “look” of it with your cabinets in particular. A designer can assist you and give you guidance.

Different counter top materials are installed different ways, so you need to make sure that the installers are very familiar with the proper installation techniques for that material. Contact Innovation Construction Co with any questions you have about having your remodeling project as eco friendly as possible.

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