Authored by Jaipi Sixbear in Environment
Published on 01-10-2010
Kitchen cabinets may not be on your list of environmental bad boys. Still, Eco friendly kitchen cabinets are a must for environmentally conscious consumers. Construction methods for conventional kitchen cabinets use wood, glue and finishes that leave a heavy impact on the environment. New kitchen cabinets can fill your home with toxins. Installing Eco friendly kitchen cabinets is good for your family’s health. It also leaves mother earth with a big smile on her face.
Many kitchen remodels utilize base construction and simply replace door and drawer fronts. When it comes to Eco friendly kitchen cabinets, this can be looked at in two ways. Replacing just the drawer and door fronts utilizes existing framework and therefore saves time and materials. This can be considered Eco friendly. It keeps waste to a minimum. On the other hand, glues and pressed wood used for base cabinets is far from environmentally friendly.
DIY or Hire Out
Unfortunately, there is no cheap Eco friendly ready made base cabinet. If you want Eco friendly kitchen cabinet bases there are three alternatives. You can build them yourself, if you have the skills and time required. You can hire a contractor who specializes in using Eco friendly materials. The third alternative is to order special cabinets. The last two alternatives can be expensive. By building your own cabinets, the materials are expensive, but you save labor costs.
Door Fronts and Drawer Fronts
The Eco friendly kitchen cabinets are half finished. The environmentally friendly base is in place. Now it’s time for the drawer fronts and door fronts. There are many Eco-friendly choices for these. Bamboo is a popular one. It’s considered Eco friendly because it grows quickly and is a renewable resource. Stay away from rainforest woods such as teak and mahogany. These trees take hundreds of years to grow. Harvesting them is killing the rainforests.
Look for water based finishes for Eco friendly kitchen cabinets. These can be found in any paint store and are labeled with the “AP” symbol for non toxic content. You can find stains, paints and top finishes that are non toxic. Why is this important? Toxic finishes are processed in a way that harms the environment. They contribute to pollution when disposed of. They also create toxic fumes in the homes where they are used. They are a triple threat to the environment.
The area surrounding Eco friendly kitchen cabinets should also be environmentally sound. Look for tiles made from recycled products. Most often these are recycled from glass, which gives a nice shine to the back splash. Tiles made from recycled glass are not cheap by any means. I always find it ironic that recycled items are more expensive than those made new. Nevertheless, if you live in the world of today and want Eco friendly kitchen cabinets, you must pay the price.
Avoid using granite counter tops for Eco friendly kitchen cabinets. Although it is natural and beautiful, it’s also irreplaceable. Granite is formed over millions of years. Once it is harvested, it never comes back. Formica is another material to avoid. This is a synthetic material processed in a way that harms the environment. Once again, counter tops made from recycled glass win the battle for Eco friendly kitchen cabinet materials.
Eco friendly kitchen cabinets start from the inside out. From glues to wood, everything should be non toxic and environmentally sound. Toxins from glues, wood and finishes can pollute the home environment. Choose natural but sustainable wood to build Eco friendly kitchen cabinets. Bamboo is a good choice. Avoid the use of rainforest woods. Stay away from granite and Formica back splash tiles and counter tops. Eco friendly kitchen cabinets are expensive but well worth the investment to protect your family’s health and future.