Q&A.; Kitchen Counter Redux.

Q. Hoping you can help. What I am looking to do is take my old laminate kitchen counters… paint them maybe glitter them… then cover them in a clear coat resin or epoxy. So I am looking for an eco-friendly food safe resin or epoxy that is clear and can preferably be poured. Hope you can at least point me in a good direction, Robert.A. Mmmm, Robert. a tough one for our first Treehugger Q&A.; At this point, still seeking the perfect solution but here's what's turned up so far.1. EnviroGLAS Terrazzo is made with 100% post consumer recycled glass, bonded with a pigmented epoxy resin. Can be used for benchtops. But is also suited to vanities, tables and commercial flooring. The glass used comes from bottles, plate glass, mirrors and car windshields. While we are not really a fan of epoxy, the manufacturers report that their resin emits no harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). And they reckon it will be around for about 40 years or the life the building. There were other contenders but none that suggested they could be poured on-site. Countertop Installation is said to be around $85 - $125 /sq ft. Alas is not transparent.

2. If you live near to the UK you could a try a remarkably similar material. Ttura by Eight Inch is 85% recycled glass, also bonded with a solvent free resin. Although they won't do a direct pour, you can send your specs and they'll make a mould to suit your kitchen. And you can design your own look, choosing glass and resin colours.

3. We looked at Bio-resins made from plant materials but none seemed to be of a durable, food grade quality, ready for countertop use. Just yet anyhow. (As an aside, there are some impressive soy bean resins being made in to plastics. Super strong, yet 25% lighter than steel, they say. John Deere is even making some agriculture harvesters out of them!)

4. There is, of course, the venerable old-timer Environ, which has an amazingly deceptive appearance – looks just like granite or marble, but can be cut with wood tools. But is really just mild mannnered recycled newspapers and soy resins. Brilliant material but they specifically don't recommend it for watery kitchen use. Darn.

4. EcoResin, which we previously reviewed (used as a lounge chair) could be adapted to other uses. It is at least 40% post industrial recycled content, free of plasticizers, stabilizers and toxic off gassing.

5. And there is Avonite, who make benchtops with reclaimed solid surface materials and have a zero waste manufacturing program, even reusing their production water in-house.

So a few options there, Robert. Are we getting close? [by WM]

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