Everyone wants a beautiful new kitchen but what about creating a space that is both beautiful and eco-friendly? Everything you bring into your house from paint to caulk, flooring to appliances and furniture can contain toxic chemicals that are bad for the environment and your health.
It’s important to make well informed decisions when renovating your home. The most important thing you can do to ensure a green home renovation is to hire a contractor who specializes in eco-friendly practices or who is at least willing to follow then for your project. Check out Get Assist to find a qualified local contractor.
Your choice of flooring can affect the air quality in your home. If you’re looking for non-toxic, allergy friendly flooring try cork, linoleum, or ceramic tile. Hardwood floors have become quite popular, but if you want the beauty without the toxic chemicals buy hardwoods sealed with a water based polyurethane, or presealed hardwoods. They also make a ceramic tile that looks like hardwood.
In recent years eco-friendly countertop options have become abundant. The important thing to focus on with your contractor is how the countertop will be attached to your kitchen cabinets. Many of the adhesives used can emit volatile organic compounds, or contain carcinogens like formaldehyde.
Here are a few countertop suggestions for you to consider as you put your kitchen together:
Paperstone– Made from 50 to 100% recycled paper and non-petroleum based resin, paperstone is a durable water and heat resistant choice for your home or business. If damaged paperstone can be sanded and refinished. Over time paperstone develops a patina that some find appealing.
Icestone– Made from bits of 100% recycled glass, portland cement, a binder, and natural pigments, icestone is another eco-friendly choice in the world of countertops. This product is both scratch and UV resistant. But icestone is a bit high maintenance and must be sealed twice a year to protect it from heat and stains.
Stainless Steel– Stainless steel countertops have become the hallmark of commercial and industrial kitchens. Many people opt to bring that professional feel into their homes. The metal is 100% recyclable and can take a serious beating. Stainless steel is heat resistant, stain resistant and will not burn or rust. Unfortunately this material can be loud when it comes in contact with pots, pans, utensils and plates. It also scratches and dents easily so it’s important to buy the thickest stainless steel that you can afford, though you can pay for professional restoration if needed. These countertops are cleaned easily with soap and water.
Sustainable Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen cabinets are typically constructed with wood products so we seldom think about the impact they have on the air quality in our homes. Many conventional kitchen cabinets are made with engineered or pressed wood that uses formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, to bind the wood pieces together.
The Environmental Stewardship Program organized by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers’ Association awards certification to manufacturers who earn points in the areas of air quality, product resource management, process resource management, environmental stewardship and community relations. Check out the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers’ Association website to find a certified manufacturer near you.
Another key component in an eco-friendly kitchen are the appliances and systems you use. Traditional kitchen appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens and stoves can be traded out for their eco-friendly counterparts. Look for Energy Star appliances that conserve energy and in some cases water.
Make it easy to live in harmony with your natural environment, consider purchasing a composting system like the Bokashi Recycling System. This system uses a Japanese fermentation process to break down food scraps including meat and dairy products for use in the garden and yard.
Under the counter water purification systems are another often overlooked kitchen component. Consider purchasing a reverse osmosis under the counter system like the 2PureH2O water system. This system is a 16 stage reverse osmosis filter that not only purifies your water but, “restructures the water by enhancing its ionic minerals and alkalinity”, according to the company website.