Natalie Freidberg, a green building consultant with All Shades of Green, a sustainable living center in Los Angeles, suggests asking yourself the following questions before you buy any material.
■ Where is it made? “You want to find, if possible, things that are sourced and manufactured locally,” Freidberg says.
■ How will you use it? Are you willing to use a chopping board or put a drip tray under a bottle of olive oil or red wine?
■ Is it potentially toxic? “Make sure it’s nontoxic and not outgassing anything into your home,” Freidberg says. “It doesn’t matter how beautiful it is if it makes you sick.”