While granite and marble countertops are the most popular, they're not green. This is because quarrying natural stone diminishes the earth's resources that have been around for millions of years. As a result of this, engineering stone became popular but unfortunately this process isn't very eco-friendly.
Countertops made from recycled glass could be a great alternative to natural stone. It has an ethereal, translucent appearance which proves desirable. The best aspect is that you can source countertops made from 100% recycled glass!
Note: you can also get recycled glass tiles!
Recycled paper countertops have a similar finish to laminate, making it a more eco-friendly alternative to the latter material. While laminate is cheap, the resins used to make it contain a substance called formaldehyde. Formaldehyde can give off gas, compromising the air-quality in your home.
Paper composite can provide the same durability without all the unhealthy chemicals.
Salvaged wood or bamboo
Wood countertops give a kitchen character, but as you are probably aware, it takes years and years to grow trees large enough to use for them. By opting for FSC wood, you can be sure that wasn't the product of clear-cutting. By choosing wood that is native to the UK, you can reduce the carbon footprint of its transportation. Nonetheless, the best wood to go for is salvaged wood. It will not only add personality to your kitchen, but is much more eco-friendly.
Remember: wood is much more susceptible to water and heat damage, so consider using it for an island, away from a sink, dishwasher and oven.
Bamboo is another eco-friendly wood suitable for countertops. It's rapidly renewable and naturally stronger than most other hardwoods. If this is your material of choice, though, be aware of its origin. Most commercial bamboo is imported from China, meaning that a lot of energy goes into transporting it to the UK.
Recycled aluminium or stainless steel
Instead of new stainless steel countertops, try recycled stainless steel or aluminium as mining metal creates a lot of pollution. You can source 60% recycled stainless steel or aluminium, making it much more eco-friendly than new materials. Both materials are incredibly durable, which is why they're often used for commercial kitchens.
Note: keeping these countertops free from smudges and watermarks can be tough, so we wouldn't recommend them for the perfectionist!