Image credit Formica
Fifty years ago, just about every kitchen counter was plastic laminate. It made sense; the stuff as cheap, easy to work with, relatively durable (my mother-in-law has been using the same counter for 45 years) and there were not a lot of alternatives. Then Corian came along in the seventies, and granite got globalized, and plastic laminate came to be considered downmarket.
But it is an interesting product, really just paper laminated under pressure together with phenolic resin. Those resins used to be made with formaldehyde, but now are usually water based. Now the Formica Corporation has even started making it with Kraft paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Formica writes in their sustainability pages:
Formica Group holds FSC Chain of Custody certification signifying our ability to meet strict tracking requirements that ensure materials used in the production of Formica brand high pressure decorative laminates come from well-managed forests.
They also describe all of the other actions they have taken to clean up the chemistry and manufacturing processes. The stuff is thin, light, economical and pretty durable. It's time for it's comeback.