Eco-friendly kitchen countertops

Five green solutions for kitchen countertops, from recycled glass, aluminum, and paper to end-grain bamboo

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  • Eco-friendly kitchen counters

    Sustainable wood


What it is: Butcher-block counters, some from reclaimed or recycled lumber, others from handsome but lesser-known tree species that have been sustainably harvested. Butcher blocks can be made from slender lengths or end-grain blocks.

What makes it green: Using reclaimed wood reduces need for harvesting new trees. Recycled old-growth lumber often has tighter grain and better quality. Underutilized species (such as Pacific madrone) expand the range of grain and color choices and offer high-quality lumber from managed forests.

Cost and contact info: Medium to high cost compared to traditional butcher blocks. Add cost of shipping. Endura Wood Products, Portland (pictured; from $50 per sq. ft.; 866/263-3939); Windfall Lumber, Olympia, WA (from $50 per sq. ft.; 360/352-2250).


What it is: Eleek uses 50 to 90 percent recycled aluminum to make countertop-depth pieces up to 3 feet wide with built-in front lip and backsplash, and to make tiles. Renewed Materials makes Alkemi, a solid-surface material containing postindustrial scrap aluminum in polymeric resin.

What makes it green: Eleek's products, which also include sinks, light fixtures, and hardware, are all made with recycled metals that can also be recycled at the end of their useful life. Metal products are finished with reusable abrasives and recirculated water. Clear-coat finish is food-safe and nontoxic.

Cost and contact info: High cost makes it comparable to upper-end granite. Eleek, Portland (pictured; from $95 per sq. ft.; cost includes custom fabrication; 503/232-5526); Renewed Materials, Cabin John, MD (from $39 per sq. ft.; 301/320-0042).

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