Although brand-new marble countertops have a great aesthetic, they're expensive They're also expensive to the Earth since they're made of non-renewable resources. If you're looking for countertops that are more friendly to the Earth, though, you've got several options available. Here are a few criteria to use when shopping.
If your countertop has recycled content in it, that's great. However, many "eco-friendly" countertops are made of composites, such as paper and resin or glass and concrete. As you can imagine, once these materials are bonded together, it's not feasible to separate them, meaning that these countertops aren't recyclable.
Your best bet is to choose a countertop that has recycling or reuse at both ends of its life cycle. For example, repurposed wood can often be repurposed again after it's done its time as a countertop. The same goes for recycled or reclaimed marble. If you end up choosing a composite material, just be sure to find the highest possible post-consumer recycled content.
The longer your countertop lasts, the less often you'll have to replace it. This is, of course, the issue with a wood or bamboo countertop. However, if you're making your countertops of reclaimed wood, you won't be creating a demand for more manufacturing each time you replace your counters.
But, if you choose a composite material, you will have to consider its lifespan. Check the warranties of each product to make sure the one you're getting won't need to be replaced often.
The more porous the countertop material, the more likely it is that you'll need to apply sealants. Sometimes, you'll need to add sealants every few months. Not only is this more work for you, but it also adds a dimension that can be damaging to the Earth. While you can often find natural products to apply as sealants, you'll have to be careful of sealants that are made using nonrenewable resources, such as mineral oil, or those that have non-food-safe chemicals.
Keeping the above criteria in mind can help you find the most eco-friendly countertop materials for your home. Of course, you may have to balance the criteria against each other; the longest-lasting product may be made of composites that aren't recyclable later, for example. In this case, you may still be able to keep your countertops out of the landfill once you're done with them by selling or giving them away to someone or donating them to a ReStore in your area. For help installing your countertops, contact a company like House of Floors.