Choose cabinets made of green materials to maintain your eco-friendly lifestyle. Green cabinets can be just as sturdy and attractive as those made of less sustainable materials.
Why Green Cabinets?
Many factory-built items contain hazardous chemicals and toxins that can harm your body. Some of these toxins include formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These can come from the hardware and material as well as the paints and stains.
Eco-friendly or 'green' furniture will often have a GreenSeal or GreenGuard label or some other guarantee.
What to Consider
When choosing your cabinets, consider factors involved in production. Find out how the material was harvested, like whether it is wood recycled from old buildings or cut down from forests that are being replanted. Research the manufacturing company and its practices.
If you have an older cabinet that you want to reuse, choose eco-friendly strippers and paint to spruce it up.
Types of Materials
Before you buy or build a green cabinet, make sure the wood has not been treated with any chemicals. The best kind of wood has been cut straight from the tree and brought directly to the workshop floor. While composite and engineered woods are very popular, they can are often treated with chemicals during manufacturing. Many like the idea of particleboard or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) wood because trees are not cut down to make it. However, these materials may not be as sturdy or durable as real wood, and they can contain dangerous toxins.
Agrifiber is another material that is used to make furniture. This wood is made from agricultural byproducts like straw, grass or corn husks—things that were often mulched or discard, but now have a new purpose in the environmental circle.
Metal materials can also be recycled to build green cabinets. Metal does not release harmful chemicals and it is extremely durable. However, these materials can cost a lot more than other types of building materials.
When choosing material for your cabinets, check to that it isn't made of plants that are endangered. For safety reasons, tropical wood needs to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Bamboo is a renewable and durable wood. Veneers are another great choice for cabinets. They use less wood and are a renewable resource, but make sure any that you buy is free of formaldehyde.