Creating an eco-friendly kitchen is as simple as being smart about the materials you buy, and when possible, recycling, reusing, and repurposing items from all over the house.

  • Use paint that is low in — or free of — volatile organic compounds. VOCs are gases, some of which can be toxic, that are emitted from products such as wall paint, paint stripper, cleaning supplies, and some building materials.
  • Natural flooring, such as wood, cork, or linoleum, doesn’t contain the toxins found in many manufactured materials. Cork is roughly the same price as wood, but it’s a sustainable material. Cork trees regenerate every nine years, while trees such as oak or maple can take 30 years or more.
  • Use energy-efficient appliances throughout the kitchen. Appliances with an Energy Star label have met strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency.
  • To conserve water, use a water-saving faucet with a flow rate around 2.2 gallons per minute.
  • Swapping out old hardware for new gives a kitchen a fresh, new look. Instead of junking the old hardware, save it for future use elsewhere.
  • Potted plants act as natural air filters by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen into the kitchen.
  • When remodeling a kitchen, rearrange and refinish or paint cabinets rather than purchasing new ones. This will prevent old cabinets from piling up in the landfill.
  • The size and shape of this old restaurant sink make it ideal for a home kitchen activity center. It provides enough work space for multiple members of the family to prep and clean up simultaneously.
  • Salvaged glass forms the center panels in these¬†cabinet doors. This action saves old glass from the trash. It can also add style to new projects because wavy antique glass adds an heirloom quality to just-made cabinets.