Green building products are becoming increasingly innovative, especially when unique materials are creatively recycled, then spun off into something new. In just your kitchen alone — often home to the priciest and most wasteful remodels — new options abound that are sustainable, modern and attractive. A search for the latest and greatest in sustainable countertops turns up countless products comprising recycled materials, and these are just some of those pioneering products:
- Vetrazzo is a countertop alternative made of recycled glass from curbside recycling programs (which makes up 85% of the surface), cement, additives and pigment. It’s durable and can withstand up to 600º Fahrenheit. As part of its own recycling program, the company will take your old Vetrazzo countertop and remanufacture it to create another, if useable.
- Bamboo is rapidly renewable, water resistant and naturally bacteria resistant. It also makes it a great choice for a countertop material. Teragren has a few different bamboo countertops to choose from that are durable and up to 154% harder than red oak. They are low-emission, formaldehyde-free materials that can be used for counters, islands and tabletops.
- Alkemi countertops are made of post-industrial scrap waste of the fine flakes left over from aluminum milling. While traditional aluminum recycling involves a heavy smoke pollutant, Alkemi saves the scrap aluminum from such a fate. The countertops are durable and can be installed in commercial or residential settings.
- Even recycled paper can be the basis of a countertop. A company named PaperStone manufactures countertops made from paper (above), including three different versions: 100% post-consumer cardboard, 100% recycled office paper or virgin fiber. All of these versions are made with a petroleum-free phenolic resin that is cashew shell liquid-based and does not emit any VOCs or formaldehyde.