If you're in the market for a new kitchen countertop, you might be surprised at the variety of new materials with labels claiming "Eco-Friendly." Depending on the label designation and the type of material itself, this one term can signify a range of qualities, from being safe and healthy for humans to aiding in global conservation efforts. To decide which material matches your lifestyle and principles, read on to learn about the many different varieties of eco-friendly countertops.
Though we typically think of air pollution the air outside densely populated urban and industrial areas, indoor air pollution is serious problem. Because indoor spaces are often poorly ventilated, people's everyday exposure to mold, volatile organic compounds and airborne particulates can wreak havoc on their health. The lime green GreenGuard Certification from UL Environment label on a countertop, means it has been rigorously tested, scientifically analyzed and approved by the organization for adhering to the strictest standards of low emissions of chemicals and particulates that might trigger allergies, respiratory illness and other health problems.
Cradle to Cradle Certified
The Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard is a holistic rating system that considers the both the humans and the environment. Before awarding a countertop material one of five designations, Cradle to Cradle assesses the material's health and safety to humans and whether workers who make it are employed ethically. The organization also evaluates the sustainability of the source materials and the energy and water used in production. The organization assigns one of five levels of achievement to each of the above categories of eco-friendliness. The product is then graded as either Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze or Basic based on its lowest achieving category. For example, to receive the highest rating of Platinum, all categories of human health and environmental health must achieve a Platinum rating.
The Forest Stewardship Counsel (FSC)
Another label you might find is the simple acronym "FSC" on countertops that have met the non-profit forest conservancy group's standards for being environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable. The Forest Stewardship Counsel label means that a product contains timber that has been harvested in a way that won't negatively impact the forest's biodiversity and ecological health. It also means that local populations near the forest have been treated fairly and have been given incentives and education to help maintain the sustainability of their environment. Finally, an FSC product is produced in a way that ensures economic viability and good company management. Choosing products with that are FSC certified helps support healthy forests and local economies.
To learn more about the eco-friendly stones that we carry, visit any one of our 6 locations or give us a call!