If you’re trying to go green with your kitchen remodel, then you know that picking out Energy Star appliances is the easy part. Researching the greenest materials to use? That can take forever.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular options for the biggest decisions you’ll need to make: countertops, cabinets, and flooring.
If you’re considering going granite or laminate but feel iffy about the non-renewability of the first and the chemical processing of the latter, consider these options:
- Recycled glass. You don’t get much greener than this, where glass is mixed with a binder to create something that looks very similar to stone. One manufacturer,Vetrazzo, says 85% of their countertops come from recycled glass.
- Wood. Yup, wood makes great countertop material. Bamboo and reclaimed wood are popular options for the greenest of the green.
- Paper. Surprise, recycled paper makes a great countertop, once it’s been saturated with the right resins and pressurized. Learn more from the manufacturersthemselves.
You can’t really get around it: kitchen cabinets are made out of wood. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Here a few:
- Bamboo. Whereas traditional woods take decades to grow, bamboo does so much faster, and the plant isn’t destroyed when it’s harvested.
- Reclaimed wood. If you’re going to go the wood route anyway, you can still feel good about yourself by sticking to
If tile isn’t for you, you’re not out of green option. For a more in depth look, you can check out the pros and cons here.
- Bamboo. Yes, bamboo makes another appearance for pretty much the same reasons as we’ve already listed. It’s fast growing, durable, and attractive.
- Linoleum. Surprisingly, real linoleum is about as natural as it gets—just linseed oil, resin, wood flour, cork dust, and pigment. It’s also biodegradable and durable.
- Cork. Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak, and is thus much more sustainable than normal wood. It is, however, slightly softer than most floors.