Looking for unique yet stylish ways to remodel your home – and choose eco-friendly options at the same time? It might sound like a tall order, but you can live in harmony with your surroundings, knowing that you’ve made some great choices for your home and the environment. From the bathroom to the kitchen, you can choose from a wide selection of products designed with sustainable harvesting practices, reduced air pollution, waste reduction and much more in mind but still offering an attractive look for your home.
If you’re looking for wood flooring for any room in the house, there are a number of great alternatives to traditional hardwood flooring. Eco-friendly flooring typically falls into two categories: reclaimed flooring and sustainable flooring.
Reclaimed flooring can use everything from shipping crates originally manufactured from tropical Asian hardwoods to antique wood sourced from demolished buildings, ensuring an amazingly diverse range of choices for your flooring material anywhere in your home.
Sustainable flooring utilizes wood products which are carefully harvested to ensure future crops, including bamboo and cork. Bamboo is a rapidly-growing form of grass which offers an attractive range of flooring options but also offers strength and excellent resistance to moisture. Cork is harvested from the bark of cork trees – a process which allows the bark to regrow rather than killing the tree. Cork offers a very comfortable surface that gives underfoot but springs back into shape easily, yet is resistant to moisture and bacteria, making it ideal for kitchens and bathroom use.
Paint is one of the prime offenders when it comes to environmental impact. Traditional paint contains a variety of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that produce fumes and give fresh paint its characteristic strong odor. Many VOCs are known to be carcinogenic and can aggravate respiratory problems in some people – making VOC-free paints a great choice for any home remodeling project that involves painting.
Fortunately, eco-friendly options for paint don’t mean a sacrifice in the color or quality you expect from standard paints. Various manufacturers offer eco-friendly paints manufactured from milk or plant extracts. While the leading industry manufacturers offer low or VOC-free versions of their product lines, they may still use petroleum products as the binding agent, making them less eco-friendly.
If you’re looking for an alternative to natural stone countertops, eco-friendly countertops are produced from various recycled materials, including recycled paper which is pressed into sheets and treated with non-toxic ingredients to produce a durable nonporous hardwood-like surface, or recycled glass from bottles and jars mixed with cement and other recycled materials which offers a rainbow of color choices and hardness comparable to granite countertops.
The cabinets in your kitchen, bathroom or other areas can be another potential source of VOCs in the home due to the finishes and adhesives used to assemble them, plus the materials used are often non-renewable hardwoods. Eco-friendly alternatives are manufactured with sustainably harvested woods including bamboo and eucalyptus or even reclaimed farm waste like wheat stalks. The finishes, glues and binders used in their manufacture are formulated to use no formaldehyde or other VOCs that can contribute to health problems or air pollution. The end result is beautiful cabinets that can be virtually indistinguishable from standard hardwood cabinetry.