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Old 01-28-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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Ok, I'm on a quest to find a perfect countertop. So here's the question: Do natural stone countertops put a big dent in the environment? I can't help but think that all that mining for granite and quartz isn't good for the earth. And also, what about laminate? Are the chemicals, petroleum etc. any better? Let's say those were the two choices, which is better for the environment? Forget about trendy green materials, they are way too pricy for us.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Sunny Arizona
622 posts, read 1,530,596 times
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I personally think butcherblock countertops are great! I selected oak, because of the hardness of the wood, the beauty of the coloring, and it is a sound, renewable resource if you go with a manufacturer who practices ethical timber-farming. It's also really inexpensive compared to many other options, and I don't have to worry about weird chemicals, mining, etc. I take care of it with oil, and that's it. Love it.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Oxygen Ln. AZ
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We love concrete countertops and if you are brave, you can pour your own. We did a kitchen ourselves and it turned out great.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Pocono Mts.
9,483 posts, read 10,942,254 times
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you can consider glass, or other recycled materials....


http://www.ecowise.com/index.php?cPath=21_32
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
13,103 posts, read 24,874,667 times
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Don't know if it's green or not but I like the High definition laminate

Wilsonart Home Laminate Cart - Wilsonart® HD® High Definition®

Also like the butcher block

NEVER would I buy granite: one of many articles you can find on the internet:

The South Asian: End Child Labor in Indian Mines and Quarries (http://www.thesouthasian.org/archives/2005/end_child_labor_in_indian_mine.html - broken link)
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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Stone slabs have pretty high embodied energy, but you could mitigate that if you bought froma local quarry. However, quarrying does do a lot of physical damage in most cases. Another alternative would be to use local stones (like river stones) and mortar them together like a tile countertop.

A lot of the laminates look much nicer today than they used to, and you can even find some that are made with a high amount of recycled materials. You do have to worry about the plastics, chemicals and adhesives in laminates though, and they do have considerable embodied energy. Another thing to try along this line, a little funky, is to put Marmoleum (natural linoleum) on your counter decking. It's slightly softer to the touch, but very durable and stain resistant (it is flooring after all!)... just don't cut on it or put hot pans on it (but you wouldn't do that anyway, right?!).

Butcherblock is an excellent choice, especially if you use sustainable lumber from a local mill (have some trees on your property that could be milled). Butcherblock is pretty time consuming to make, and you have to take care of it properly, but otherwise it will last a very long time.

Concrete countertops are a decent option as well, although concrete has a pretty steep embodied energy and is almost as harmful as quarried stone. However, since the countertops are easier to make with mortar, you can find reycled brands (they chew up old concrete slabs and such).

Aluminum is also something to consider. There are a few companies who make recycled molded sheet aluminum countertops. Aluminum is much easier to work with and recycle than steel, but makes a pretty decent alternative for a residential kitchen.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
13,103 posts, read 24,874,667 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poconoproud View Post
you can consider glass, or other recycled materials....


http://www.ecowise.com/index.php?cPath=21_32
Hmm those recycled glass counter tops are really nice. I wonder how durable they are?
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,631,693 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poconoproud View Post
you can consider glass, or other recycled materials....


http://www.ecowise.com/index.php?cPath=21_32
All these are wonderful recycled options, but it's too bad they are so expensive I would love to have some of the recycled glass or paperstone counters, but there is no way I could afford those prices! I wonder how hard it would be to DIY with busted & tumbled glass and mortar?
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
13,103 posts, read 24,874,667 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingAll4Seasons View Post
All these are wonderful recycled options, but it's too bad they are so expensive I would love to have some of the recycled glass or paperstone counters, but there is no way I could afford those prices! I wonder how hard it would be to DIY with busted & tumbled glass and mortar?
Very true..until the price of living "green" comes down not to many except the rich can afford it
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,631,693 times
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I've never really understood how recycled products end up more expensive. Does it really cost the companies more to collect and transport the raw "waste" materials to be reused?
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