Greening Your Kitchen
After years of mindful eating, it’s no surprise we'd want to prepare and sit down to meals in a healthy, eco-friendly space.
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Choose cabinets certified by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association’s (KCMA) Environmental Stewardship Program. “We use wood that is renewable, recyclable,” says Dick Titus, executive vice president of KCMA. Another option: choose cabinets made of wheat board, a particle-board product that contains wheat because it does not use formaldehyde as a binding agent and it reduces the need for timber fibers. Oak used to dominate cabinetry but today smoother grains such as maple, cherry, and hickory have grown in popularity.
Reclaimed or recycled wood is one of the greenest choices for flooring. The materials have been saved rather than dumped and are ready to lend character and comfort to your kitchen. Check with the manufacturer or supplier to see if you can add radiant heat underneath it, says Ken Bingham, an associate with SMA Architecture Planning Interiors in Croton-on-Hudson. The same can be installed underneath a stone floor, whether it’s tumbled marble or polished granite. Another green choice is bamboo because it replenishes itself quickly.
Though granite and other natural stones have been mainstays for kitchen countertops, man-made or engineered stone and recycled glass is gaining ground. Ceasarstone, Silestone, and Zodiaq, which are 92 to 93 percent natural quartz, have grown in popularity in the last three years. There are even countertops made of recycled paper and yogurt pots.
Harriet Edleson's most recent book is The Little Black Book of Washington, DC: The Essential Guide to America's Capital. She lives in Manhattan.