Eco Friendly or Green Kitchen Cabinets
Posted by Norman Fong
Here are some of the attributes we looked for when selecting eco friend kitchen cabinets earlier this year:
- FSC certified Wood or wood from a responsibly farm source. I actually spoke to the wood mill to understand where our wood was coming from. Lyptus and Bamboo are rapidly making in roads.
- Water based finish to minimize VOC emissions. There were issues on finish durability in the past, but quality seems to have improved.
- Water based glues to minimize VOC emissions.
- Marine grade plywood or non MDF Medium Density Fiberboard particle board cabinet box. Also to prevent off-gassing emissions from formaldehyde, etc. Interlam and Topan make MDF without formaldehyde.
- As local as possible a supplier to minimize transport costs and fuel use.
We also relocated many of our old cabinets to our kitchen and donated everything else for use in a local church.
Some cabinets including mines are KCMA certified, but frankly their rules are not very aggressive in the area of eco friendliness. (Emissions etc) It is more of a cabinet industry association.
When we began our search in early 2007, we were educating stores on what green cabinetry was. The main sources used to be boutique local small craftsmen shops. Today, we see firms advertising ‘Green’ cabinets. HGTV has a video on this are.
Also considered cabinet refacing. You replace the doors and a veneer is placed over your existing cabinets. This is much cheaper than replacing the cabinets. New drawer pulls and handles will also update your kitchen’s look. You will reuse the ‘guts’ of your cabinets, so they need to be in good shape for this option. Some companies have options to also replace drawers.
Eco Friendly, Green Coconut Palm Wood
Coconut Palm wood is an eco friendly and green flooring alternative to bamboo. It is a by product of coconut production and has even received FSC certification.
Smith and Fong makes palmwood flooring and palmwood plywood. We have flooring from this company and find it top rate.
When installing flooring, try to avoid gluing it down if possible. If you need to use glue, use a low or no VOC glue.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to have bamboo in your backyard? It is environmentally friendly, grows fast, and can make for a nice property line wall. You can also use it for other projects. I did some research that made me realize that it is more than most people can handle.
The problem is that bamboo spreads relentlessly, is almost indestructible, and its roots are like steel. People have to setup physical barriers like metal flashing to prevent its spread. I think I’ll stick to bamboo flooring..
Fireclay Tile – Recycled materials and Sustainable manufacturing
Fireclay Tile is a tile company that utilizes Recycled materials and Sustainable manufacturing to produce high-quality ceramic and glass tile. They are based in based in San Jose, CA and make most products in the USA.
They recycle everything from glass bottles to porcelain toilets, vanities, and bathtubs are recycled into beautiful ceramic tile. They use a lead-free glaze and proved that recycled does not mean you have to compromise on aesthetics.
Eco Friendly, Green Zero VOC Wood Stains
As part of our remodeling, we need to stain a new door and some replacement wood flooring, to fix damaged areas. Our contractor usually uses Minwax products. The normal one they use has 500 g/L of VOC. Even their low voc versions contain a maximum VOC of 250 g/L. Way too high. We went looking for something more ECO friendly with zero or low VOCs for better indoor air quality. Amazon sells this wood stain for less than our local hardware store.
We found Bioshield Aqua Resin Wood Colors #33 that is a solvent-free water-based, Zero VOC, low-drip, resilient wood stain finish for interior and exterior applications. Colors are limited but you can always mix them. It is available at several ECO oriented stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Moving from 500 g/L to Zero VOC is a huge improvement.
We are trying to stain and air out items in the garage or outdoors to further reduce indoor emissions. It took about 3 days for the smell to go away.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed.