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.