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Sustainable Countertops Essay

1061 words - 5 pages

As cultures have grown and expanded, so has construction. New buildings are going up everyday while the old ones are being torn down. Cultures are starting to become more aware of what is thrown in the landfills and polluting our earth. Architects have begun building sustainably and using recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint. It can be very difficult in choosing sustainable products. For example:
Many different factors come into play in determining the “greenness” of products and materials; very often the distinctions are not black-and-white. Much of the complexity in examining the environmental and health impacts of materials results from the fact that the impacts can ...view middle of the document...

This type of countertop diverts glass from the waste stream and can come from broken windshields, traffic lights, and even beverage bottles. “Take recycled glass fragments, mix them with epoxy resin or cement, and shape the mix into a sheet and you end up with a stunning countertop that your friends with granite will envy. With limitless color configurations, you can easily create a one-of-a-kind counter” (Davis). Another sustainable countertop can be made from recycled paper. Recycled paper countertops are made from postconsumer recycled paper, nonpetroleum, and formaldehyde-free resins. This makes for a strong yet light countertop. “When shopping for recycled wood or paper counters, look for those that incorporate low VOC glues and water-based finishes” (Davis). Aluminum is another great sustainable material used for countertops. The metal can be cut up in to tiny pieces and embedded into resin to capture different angles of light and reflecting it back.
Cost and production are major factors in sustainable materials. Many behind the scenes expenses like the cost of production and the cost of driving the material to you can determine whether or not a countertop is considered sustainable. In order for the countertop to be considered sustainable, the material must be delivered within 500 miles of destination. Also you must consider whether the production of the countertop produces harmful gases or bi-products. Every material has a different manufacturing cost. For example, recycled glass countertops range from $50 - $80 per square foot to install; where as recycled aluminum can range from $30 to $150 depending on what you do with the material. For example: “Mix aluminum shavings with a polymeric resin over a plywood substrate and you get an exciting, distinctive countertop. The shavings can also be anodized to resemble copper or bronze. These counters are on the pricey side at $70 to $150 a square foot” (Davis). One of the cheaper materials is recycled paper. It costs about $30 per square foot. Most sustainable countertops are reasonably priced with granite and quartz. When purchasing a countertop, a customer has to consider not only what the main countertop is made of, but also what you have to buy with it. For example, do they have to buy sealant with it or mechanical clips? How is the countertop...

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