If you’re a lover of all things recycled, renewable, sustainable, and generally eco-friendly, you probably already have a plethora of green items incorporated into your daily routine, from simple alternatives like recycling bins and organic cotton clothing to options like solar panels that require a little more devotion to the cause. But if you are looking to do a serious kitchen remodel, there are a few products you should consider to give you the fabulous designer look you’ve been dreaming of while keeping your efforts clean and green.
1. Flooring. Expensive hardwoods and rare stone tile are the cornerstone of any gourmet kitchen, but there is a way to get the luxurious look without denuding an ancient forest or gouging holes in the earth (leading to erosion and pollution). For the look of wood, consider a laminate. The stigma that once surrounded this wood-alternative is no longer what it once was. Many laminates now mimic both the look and the feel of the real thing. If a natural stone look is what you crave, you can get an almost spot-on alternative in tile. Many manufacturers now produce ceramic tile that mimics stone (but without the ridiculous upkeep), so just be sure to find one that offers a number of variations on design in each box.
2. Countertops. If you want the look of natural stone, you can always go with an imitation tile or a solid surface like Corian or Silestone. You can also look for composite or recycled-materials countertops such as IceStone (which imitates the look of stone) and EnviroGlas (which can look like a really beautiful mosaic or a better-than-retro Formica). But if you’re looking for something unique, consider stained concrete. It is durable, customizable, and has a distinctive look that fits well in a modern kitchen. If you must have granite, you can often find reclaimed materials to incorporate into your renovations.
3. Cabinets. There are plenty of gorgeous green options, although many of them seem to be comprised of woods that happen to be more renewable, those that required lower emissions to produce, etc. However, the best bet for eco-friendly cabinets is reclamation. There are plenty of stores that repair and sell recycled cabinetry, so make one of these warehouses your first stop if you’re looking to replace your cabinets.
4. Induction cooktop. Cooking with magnets is not only smart, but safe. The cooktop utilizes magnetic energy by sending an electrical current into metal elements in order to create friction and, ultimately, heat. This saves energy by keeping the heat in the pot, rather than spreading it throughout your kitchen. The safety bonus is that because the cooking surface actually creates no heat (only becoming hot from the metal of the pots and pans resting on it) it cools rapidly, reducing the risk of injury.
5. Recycling center. Most kitchens require Tetris-level skills to fit in recycling, so when you build your dream kitchen, be sure to include under-counter space to house the extra bins required for a recycling-friendly household.
Author Bio: Jennifer Kardish is a communications coordinator at RTA Kitchen Cabinets. You can check out their free design tips for your kitchen and home.