Kitchen Countertops / July 16, 2018 / Cade Brown.
The basics: Recycled paper countertops are composed of postconsumer wastepaper, nonpetroleum-based resins and pigments. This mix is heated and compressed into a dense, monolithic slab with a feel that’s often compared to a warm, soft stone — like soapstone. The primary manufacturers, PaperStone, Richlite, ShetkaStone and Kliptech, all offer several colors, though the material typically is available only in medium to dark hues, all in a smart-looking matte finish.
You’ll feel good about your selection and add personality and richness from the wood’s history. I look for wood that has a story — maybe it’s salvaged from some iconographic building or even from the project’s remodel. Just remember, wood is more susceptible to damage by water and heat, so it’s best located away from the sink, dishwasher and range. An island is a good option.
Concrete counters can be a terrific green choice if they are sourced locally or cast in place (transporting heavy slabs great distances consumes a lot of energy). Also, look for low-impact aggregates, such as increased coal fly ash, and recycled glass or paper.
Sustainability: The cement in concrete is derived from heating limestone, which is a carbon-intensive process that creates gas emissions. However, slag cement, fly ash and silica fume — all industrial waste by-products that are carbon neutral — can replace more than 50 percent of the cement, reducing emissions and improving the concrete’s ecofriendliness.
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