One of the most recent concerns among homeowners, as well as most of our population, is finding ways to help the environment and be sustainable. When remodeling a kitchen, a lot of materials go into the space, i.e. cabinets, countertops, flooring, backsplash, paint, lighting, appliances, fixtures. The list feels endless. As a way of “living green” and helping the environment, the kitchen and bathroom industry is turning to recycled materials and eco-friendly products.
Recycled glass tile and countertops are very decorative and pleasing to the eye. Although it might seem like recycled glass would be more affordable then the standard grade material, they are most likely always much more expensive. Recycled glass tiles for backsplashes or even in bathrooms are considered quite sustainable as they are made up of a mixture of post-consumer and post-industrial glass waste.
The composition of recycled glass can range from 50% to 100%, so it is very important to ask your supplier for the exact content. Recycled glass tiles can come in a variety of colors and styles and many are even handmade resulting in occasional size variations. There is little to no colorants or oxides in recycled glass tiles and many tile manufacturers will use the original colors of the pre-recycled glass.
Recycled glass surfaces, like countertops, are comprised of 75% to 85% recycled glass that comes primarily from neighborhood curbside recycling programs, then mixed with a resin (mostly eco-friendly). They also sometimes use post-industrial glass, windows, drinking glasses, automotive glass, reclaimed glass from building demolitions, and just about any other type of glass you can think of.
These countertops are usually just as durable as granite or quartz surfaces. They are heat-resistant, scratch-resistant and may need to be sealed every couple of years depending on the manufacturer.
Also popular in the green building world is the installation of eco-friendly flooring. One option when selecting sustainable flooring materials is bamboo. To begin, it is important to remember that not all bamboo flooring is alike. It is best to look for certain qualities when choosing to use bamboo flooring.
Performance, environmentally friendly finishes and adhesives, moisture control, durable finish and longevity. Bamboo floors are tough; but some are tougher than others. There are different species of bamboo which therefore determine the hardness, maturation time, grain patterns and color.
Also, it is important that your bamboo flooring is installed and cared for properly, but it’s even more important that the manufacturing company guarantees an industry standard of 6-9% moisture content. Otherwise the wood can split, warp or delaminate over time. Using a durable finish leads to longevity. Although it is difficult to determine which finish is best just by looking at it, you can test surfaces to see which ones chip off easily or leave the most scratches. But you do have to test these for yourself to see the difference.
Remember, there is a large selection of eco-friendly products on the market today. Use what you find fitting to your home and lifestyle but also make sure not to cut corners. You want material that will last a lifetime as you continue to lessen your carbon footprint.