a white kitchen with eco wood countertops in a bright open living space

If you’re renovating your kitchen, consider going green with eco countertops instead of installing manufactured ones. Using renewable materials for your projects lowers your carbon footprint and is beneficial to your wallet, too. 

This article will discuss why you should consider installing eco countertops in your kitchen, their benefits, and how they compare with other countertops in terms of durability, cost, and design. 

So, let’s dive in!

Should You Consider Eco Countertops?

You should consider eco countertops for your next project because of their aesthetically-pleasing design, durability, and heat and stain resistance. In addition, they are economical, environmentally friendly, and made from recycled and renewable materials.  

Are Eco Countertops Worth It?

Eco countertops are worth considering because they are made from renewable or recycled materials. They are also typically quite durable, depending on the materials used. Most eco countertops are heat-resistant and can also withstand stains and scratches. 

Eco countertops come in various color shades and design options, making selecting one based on your kitchen’s design easy. If you don’t want to compromise on the kitchen’s aesthetics, eco countertops are ideal.  

Eco countertops are made from green materials, including: 

  • Tree pulp 
  • Wood 
  • Bamboo
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Paper
  • Aluminum
  • Brass 

So, whether you’re looking at it from a durability perspective or need something to complete your green modular kitchen, eco countertops check all the boxes. 

Why You Might Not Prefer Eco Countertops 

Longevity is often the most crucial aspect of choosing a kitchen countertop. If this is your primary concern, you might still prefer traditional countertops over their eco-friendly counterparts. 

Standard countertops are made from materials like:

  • Concrete
  • Steel
  • Ceramic
  • Engineered stone

Eco countertops can’t withstand harsh chemicals the way traditional ones can. Conventional countertops are highly resistant to stains, scratches, and heat, meaning most eco models require higher maintenance than traditional ones.  

A kitchen that utilizes slate countertops and vertical surfaces

On the other hand, manufactured countertops are less environmentally friendly than eco countertops. So if this is important to you, it’s much better for the environment to use recycled materials instead. 

Why You Should Choose Eco Countertops

Choosing eco countertops means using renewable resources to upgrade your kitchen. They are food-grade safe, good for the environment, and will last a long time if you look after them. You might not even be able to tell the difference between these and traditional countertops since many manufacturers nowadays offer eco models with a modern look that can enhance any kitchen.  

Eco countertops are available in a wide range of textures and are usually highly durable, although this does depend on the material used. An added benefit is that they are usually more affordable than traditional countertops.  

Best of all, a well-designed eco countertop will add to the overall value of your property. 

Different Types of Eco Countertops 

If you want an eye-catching kitchen countertop, choosing the right option can be challenging due to the wide range of available options. 

When choosing the ideal eco countertop for your kitchen, you should bear the following in mind: 

  • Aesthetics
  • Cost
  • Level of eco-friendliness
  • Durability
  • Maintenance 

Below are a few different types of eco countertops that you can choose from.

Recycled Glass

Recycled glass countertops are eco-friendly because they reuse materials like crushed glass from broken bottles and windows. Even though these countertops are new to the market, they have quite a reputation because of their unique look. 

During the recycling process, the crushed glass is colored and placed within a binding material. These countertops complement most modern kitchen settings and look stunning if they’re maintained properly. 

If you’re in the market for a glass countertop, you’ll be amazed at how distinct each glass countertop looks and feels. This variance is because different types and colors of crushed glass are blended together to give each desired look. As a result, some recycled glass countertops may look traditional, while others might look contemporary. 

A recycled glass countertop on the island in a kitchen
Courtesy of Home Advisor

Furthermore, you won’t have to put in a lot of effort to clean recycled glass countertops because they are stain-resistant, and you can simply wipe them clean with a wet towel. Another plus is that glass is non-porous, which resolves one of the main issues with other natural eco-friendly countertops. 

However, there are some downsides to a recycled glass countertop. If you don’t care for them properly – cleaning it regularly, keeping harsh chemicals away – they might not last very long, at least compared to traditional countertops. 

So, you shouldn’t buy these if you prefer longevity and low maintenance or need a countertop for your commercial kitchen. 

Recycled glass countertops can also be expensive. They cost around $65-$140 per square foot (0.09 sq m), which is significantly more than other options. 

Given the above, someone might consider recycled glass countertops mainly for aesthetic purposes. However, this is the best option if you don’t use your kitchen all the time and are primarily design-oriented. 

Composite Paper

You might think that a countertop made of paper sounds strange, but it really works. With the correct recycling procedure, certain types of paper can be highly durable and designed to be resistant to heat and water. 

So, if you want to switch towards a green kitchen alternative, try composite paper countertops. These countertops are highly sustainable and aren’t as flimsy as the name suggests! 

To make these countertops, recycled paper is mixed with natural pigments and binding solutions. These materials are then compressed under high temperatures to make countertops as strong as any other solid material. 

These countertops are available in a variety of designs and color options. In addition, composite paper countertops are non-porous and stain resistant. Since paper is lightweight, installing these countertops is easy, and they are ideal if you’re designing an ADU kitchen

However, even though composite paper countertops are highly durable, they require proper care and maintenance if you want them to last. Furthermore, you must clean your composite paper countertops regularly. If you notice stains, wipe them off immediately, and don’t use harsh chemicals to clean them. 

This kind of eco-friendly countertop will cost you from $40-$75 per square foot (0.09 sq m), which is a reasonable price for a countertop. 

Reclaimed Wood 

Reclaimed wood countertops are made from recycled wood material from:

  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Flooring
  • Houses and other buildings 

These countertops are environmentally friendly since they contribute to reducing deforestation and have a reduced carbon footprint. So, you can add a touch of wood to your kitchen without feeling guilty.

A closeup of slats of reclaimed wood flooring

Reclaimed wood countertops aren’t recycled using chemicals and toxins, so buying them reduces harmful emissions produced during manufacturing or recycling. 

Like regular wood countertops, reclaimed wood countertops come in various natural patterns and thicknesses. They also come in different shapes and sizes that are designed to complement various types of modern and traditional kitchen designs, so there’s something for everyone. 

Due to their unique design, reclaimed wood countertops add a welcoming warmth to your kitchen and are visually stunning. Reclaimed wood is also quite durable because it is resistant to wear and tear, and many types of wood, such as oak, become more robust as they age.

However, sharp knives can damage the countertop surface. A significant downside is that scratches are easily visible on the surface of reclaimed wood countertops. It is also porous, so germs, bacteria, and insects can become a problem if you don’t maintain it properly, so regular maintenance is essential. 

The countertops are durable if you take care of them properly and apply mineral oil and other protective substances. Also, don’t let water stay too long on the surface. 

Reclaimed wood countertops cost between $30-$140 per square foot (0.09 sq m), depending on the age and type of wood used. 

Bamboo

Bamboo is a fantastic, eco-friendly material because it grows prolifically and looks beautiful. It has a similar look and feel to wood but is more lightweight. 

It’s a renewable resource, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the environment when renovating your kitchen. You can also use bamboo for kitchen decor if you like coordinating your designs.  

Bamboo countertops are also easy to clean. All you’ll need is soap and a sponge to remove most stains. If a sticky material is spilled on the countertop’s surface, you can use vinegar to gently clean it off. 

With a bamboo countertop, you won’t have to worry about bacterial growth or germs, but if you want extra precautions, you can use gentle disinfectants. Bamboo is also solid and sturdy, so these countertops can last several years without damage. 

various types of hardwood and bamboo plywood sheets stacked on top of each other

However, bamboo countertops need regular maintenance to sustain their longevity. They aren’t resistant to very harsh chemicals or stubborn stains. They also have visible countertop seams, which may affect the overall appeal. 

Bamboo countertops aren’t generally costly, but this depends on your choice. Most cost an estimated $45-$100 per square foot (0.09 sq m).

Soapstone 

Soapstone countertops are rarely used, yet they are among the most effective eco-friendly options. If you want your kitchen to have a modern feel, a soapstone countertop is a suitable choice. 

Soapstone countertops are an eco-friendly alternative to granite countertops as they have the same industrial, rustic, and urban aesthetic appeal that you might like as a city dweller. 

Soapstone is also a natural and renewable source that doesn’t use any toxic substances during manufacturing. In addition, unlike other countertop materials, it doesn’t require regular maintenance through sealing and only needs oiling to maintain its longevity

Soapstone countertops have a few other benefits since they are: 

  • Durable
  • Stain-resistant
  • Non-porous
  • Resistant to harsh chemicals

However, it’s vulnerable to scratches from the sharp edges of utensils and knives. Another downside is that it only has a few color options and is only available in darker shades. 

A Soapstone countertop with a scratch on the island in a kitchen
Courtesy of the spruce

Soapstone countertops cost $50-$150 per square foot (0.09 sq m).

Eco Countertops vs. Regular Countertops 

While the above-mentioned eco-friendly options look appealing, you may still be in two minds on which countertop material will suit your kitchen best. Therefore, let’s look at some of the advantages and downsides of eco-friendly and non-eco countertop options so you can choose the best option. 

Pros of Eco Countertops

  • They are made from natural and renewable sources that contribute to environmental sustainability.  
  • Most countertops come in unique designs, colors, and shapes, making choosing one for your particular kitchen design easy. 
  • They can withstand heat, stains, and sticky substances. While this tends to vary depending on the material, if you look after them properly, you will be able to keep them looking good for many years. 
  • Eco countertops aren’t costly. Traditional countertops can be very expensive in comparison.

Cons of Eco Countertops

  • Many eco countertops require regular maintenance, and some won’t be as durable as traditional countertops. 
  • Most eco-countertop materials aren’t water or chemical-resistant, so you’ll need to use gentle cleaning substances to maintain them.  
  • They also lack longevity compared to traditional countertops.

Pros of Regular Countertops

  • Manufactured countertops are highly durable. 
  • They can last a lifetime. 
  • Most regular countertops are stain, water, and chemical-resistant. 
  • They also require low maintenance. 

Cons of Regular Countertops

  • Regular countertops aren’t eco-friendly as they are made from non-renewable sources. Their manufacturing process also makes them a poor choice if you care about the environment.  
  • Many are vulnerable to scratches and aren’t heat-resistant. Marble countertops, for example, need to be regularly maintained.  
  • These countertops can be costly, depending on the material. 

How To Avoid Common Eco Countertop Problems

When you install a new eco countertop, you must take care of it properly to last a lifetime. If you routinely maintain of your kitchen countertop, you won’t have to spend too regularly on unnecessary repairs. 

Some common countertop problems include: 

Losing Its Natural Shine 

Your countertop may look dull when it loses its natural shine because of regular use or exposure to harsh chemicals. Before using any chemical on the eco countertop, ensure that the material can withstand the substance you’re about to use. 

Keep in mind that most eco-friendly countertops don’t need any chemicals for cleaning. Soap and a wet towel are enough to clean the dirt and food stains from the surface. If you use water and dish soap, you won’t have to worry about your countertop losing its shine. 

A chef wiping down an eco countertop

Heat or Water Damage

Placing a hot dish on your countertop that cannot withstand heat will severely damage its surface. If you aren’t careful, dark spots will appear on the surface.  

To avoid damage, you should place heat-resistant trivets on your eco countertop and put your hot dishes on them. 

It’s very common for countertops near the sink to undergo water damage. However, if you always clean up after yourself, this shouldn’t be a huge problem. 

Final Thoughts 

If you’re in two minds on switching to eco countertops, make the switch! Eco countertops are beautiful, cost-effective, and can last several years with proper maintenance. 

Best of all, you’ll be contributing to environmental sustainability! 

Sources 

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