One person’s trash is another’s treasure!
Eco friendly countertops are made from recycled
and reused materials.
The materials used in composite and recycled countertops (the termsrecycled and compositeare interchangeable) are an eclectic group. Some products are (believe it or not) paper-based, using new or recycled paperimpregnated with earth friendly resins.
You may have had a morning cup of coffee on apaper countertop and never even knew!
Some countertops reuse old glass or a combination of paper, fly-ash (a by-product of coal combustion) and other materials like scrap aluminum!
There are so many good attributes, including:
• Positive environmental impact – Most have some measure of positive environmental effect either in the materials or the manufacturing methods.
• Durability and stain resistance – A large percentage of recycled glass in a cement mix offers strength and stain resistance similar to the quartz and engineered stone products. Because 80% to 90% of the surface area is glass, which is non-porous, most of the countertop will be impenetrable to staining. A sealer can protect the remainder of the surface from stains.
• Innovation and individuality – Some offer a unique look and haven’t yet become popular.
• Smart alternates to other countertop materials – Several types of composite and recycled countertops are good alternatives by offering lower cost or less maintenance.
…And some drawbacks:
• Newness within the marketplace – Some are still very new in the marketplace so long term care requirements and durability are yet to be seen.
• Variability in the amount of green-ness – Some “recycled” countertops use recycled materials but combine them with petroleum-based binders or other less-green processes! Look closely at what goes into their makeup and production.
• Level of care required – Some use concrete or other type of bindersrequire care like stone countertops. This usually involves sealing the surface periodically, which means moving everything off your countertop to seal the surface then letting it cure.
• Repairability – A countertop whose surface area is mostly recycled glass might chip if something hard is dropped on it.
• Availability – Certain green countertops are simply hard to get.
In the end, going green is the way to go. Despite the drawbacks,environmentally friendly products and materials will eventually overtake the market and the choice will be made for you. In the meantime, you’ll feel better about yourself and your environment and you’ll know you were trying to do the right thing, right now.
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