Green designer finishes for your kitchen

For those of you that don’t know it, today is BLOG ACTION DAY!

Bloggers around the world are writing about the environment, how we can help to make our world better, from materials to recycling to volunteering, and more.   Make sure you take a look at the incredible articles that are floating around the blogosphere…..over 14,000 bloggers signed up! There are many ways you can help the environment without thinking of yourself as a “gung-ho-green-extremist”.  “Green” is the new “cool”, the new “hip”, the new “hot”.  Everyone can make a difference and no better way to start than with your own designer finishes in your home.  Being an architect and Realtor, I am always suggesting materials that are “earth-friendly”, so this time I am going to tell you about 3 types of kitchen countertops that come from recycled materials and are absolutely gorgeous. paper_counter.jpgThe first one is paper countertops.  The first time I heard of paper countertops I imagined placing a hot pot on the counter and seeing it disintegrate underneath the pot.  You know that can’t be right.  Recycled papers from phone books and magazines are mixed with resins to make these great looking counters that are stain resistant and have a high heat tolerance.

  • Shetka Stone is one of the manufacturers – this is how the company describes their product:

“shetkaSTONE is a revolutionary product that has a 100% sustainable life cycle. Products that are produced from shetkaSTONE are manufactured from pre and post consumer waste paper and rely on using none of the Earth’s overtapped resources. All by-products (waste created in the manufacturing process) can be recycled back into the manufacturing process. All products that are damaged or are at the end of their life cycle do not have to be put in any landfill, they can be recycled back into the manufacturing process. shetkaSTONE is a necessary part of our human existence on this earth. If we do not start creating products with the same sustainability we will burn out all of the earth’s natural resources. “

  • Richlite – uses materials made from pulp that comes from certified managed forests in North America.

“The company is committed to reducing its impact on the environment by practicing sound manufacturing processes and producing products with sustainable materials. “

  • Kliptech – uses recycled materials with water based resins.

“Our goal is to design, develop, manufacture and market the most durable, environmentally friendly, innovative, & cost effective  composites and resin systems in the world”

metal_1.jpgAnother innovative material is recycled aluminum counter tops.  They can be made to look like metal with that industrial look that so many people like, or to have different colors and patterns known to solid surface materials.

  • Eleek – uses a  process that smooths and polishes the metal and has an organic looking surface that is soft to the touch, does not fingerprint like stainless steel and is heat resistant up to 300 degrees.  The finishes are natural river rock but also have a selection of different color patinas.  The counter tops are manufactured to specs and there is no cutting on site.
  • Alkemi – uses 60% post industrial scrap for their solid surface materials

glass.jpgLastly, I will tell you about my all time favorite – glass counter tops.  These are made from recycled glass that is mixed with a resin to make the most beautiful looking tops I’ve seen.  I am a big fan of sea glass, and to think you can have actual pieces of colorful glass as counters is pretty amazing.

  • Vetrazzo has managed to create the most incredible palette of glass, and I encourage you to take a look at their website.  This is what they have to say about their product.

“Vetrazzo surfaces give you an alternative to using non-renewable resources (like virgin granite, for example), and provides a new market for recycled glass, including glass that cannot be recycled elsewhere. Even reusing glass to create bottles or fiberglass comes with a HUGE energy cost.”

  • Enviroglass is another glass countertop company:

“Those glass bottles you’re throwing away can be recycled… into beautiful… economical… sustainable… floors, countertops and decorative surfaces”

So there you have it – 3 countertop options that are “earth friendly”.  What’s important to realize here is that there are plenty of companies out there that are committed to the production of materials that are environmentally conscious.  I mentioned 3 products here but there are thousands of others. 

If you are remodeling your Miami home, don’t be afraid to ask about recycled materials, you may be pleasantly surprised.  Even in the most remote areas, you will be able to find installers and manufactures that have our environment at the top of their list.


Leave a Reply