As the hub of your home, the kitchen should also be a center of environmental responsibility. Equip it stylishly and conscientiously with these items.
1. When the family gathers around a reclaimed wood table, you know you’re not contributing to the destruction of old-growth forests or tropical hardwoods. The Wooden Duck specializes in furniture made with wood rescued from old warehouses. One of many sizes and styles, the Wimmer Round Table (44 by 30 inches, $1,335) is crafted from recycled Douglas fir. (510) 848-3575.
2. Fight global warming with an ultra-hip, ultra-cool refrigerator or wine cooler sporting an original painting or photograph. The Artists for a Cool Planet project—a collaboration between the nonprofit American Forests and Danby Refrigerators—goes beyond decoration. For each energy-efficient Danby Art Cooler sold, American Forests plants ten trees, which offset the CO2 emissions generated by the unit’s electricity use over a lifetime. Shown: compact model with artist Richard Jolley’s “Plant/Life,” $699.
3. Sleek European lines with concealed control panels are the hallmark of Bosch's Integra dishwasher, but the quietness and efficiency truly distinguish this Energy Star-rated machine. Its Apex technology soil sensors automatically adjust cycle times and monitor water temperature and consumption. $499 to $1,499, depending on model and features. (800) 944-2904.
4. Rinse your veggies in a 100 percent recycled aluminum prep/bar sink made by Eleek, a small family owned company in Portland, Oregon. Each cast sink is tumbled to a soft, silver glow and is powder coated for a nontoxic, durable finish that won’t fingerprint, waterspot, or require fussy care. A variety of styles are available. Water Falling sink (shown) is 19 x 12.5 x 7 inches: $895. (503) 232-5526.
5. Who would guess the colored flecks in your countertops come from beer bottles, old windshields, stained glass scraps, and traffic lights? Vetrazzo, a handcrafted mix of colored concrete and 80 to 90 percent recycled glass, can be custom cast into strong, eco-friendly countertops and sinks. Its maker, Counter Production, diverts about 100 tons of glass from landfills annually. (510) 843-6916.
6. Clear your cupboards of toxins and endangered wood by choosing cabinetry with a conscience. Neil Kelly Cabinets replace formaldehyde-laden particleboard with wheatboard (from straw waste) and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. The cabinets are free of formaldehyde and harmful glues, adhesives, and finishes. Pictured are wheatboard-core cabinets with sustainable wood veneer. (503) 335-9207.
7. Kitchen chores are always more pleasant if your feet are cushioned by a floor that’s both sustainable and simple to clean. Cork is the thick bark of a tree; Natural Cork's flooring is made from ground-up wine-stopper waste that’s formed into sheets using minimal adhesives. Available in a variety of shades and textures. (706) 733-6120.
8. Heat up dinner without burning your utility budget. Well insulated for efficiency, Peerless-Premier gas stoves minimize electrical use by igniting with the help of a gas regulation system instead of the power-hungry “glow-bar” device found in most stoves. High-efficiency models with sealed burners, $415, are available through PlanetarySystems.com.
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