Going green is popular nowadays, and people are willing to pay a premium for it. While this is mostly for consumer products, materials for home renovations such as for kitchen countertops come in for some of that love. The desire to protect the environment is a laudable movement, and should be encouraged.
The problem is many manufacturers for housing and remodeling products seek to cash in on this by claiming their products are environmentally friendly or sustainable even if they are not. It is certainly an effective marketing strategy, but not a very ethical one. Obviously, you want to avoid these products as much as you can.
However, determining if a product is truly green is not easy. You have to make a conscious effort to find out, and that includes choosing truly green kitchen countertops. Considering the many decisions and choices you have to make for a kitchen remodel, doing you due diligence for the materials you choose could take a lot of effort on top of everything else.
That said, if you truly want to exercise your social conscious, you have no choice but to do whatever it takes to ensure you are choosing truly green kitchen countertops. Below are some tips to guide you down the green path.
Look for greenwashing
The term “greenwashing” refers to a slick strategy of making misleading or unsubstantiated statements about a product implying its environmental benefits of a product. It might be through misstatements, omissions, or overstatements that, while not technically lies, convince consumers that a product is “greener” than it really is.
Manufacturers commonly use vague terms such as “sustainable,” “recyclable,” and “non-toxic” to imply that a product is green, but often requires qualification. If you see these or similar terms on a product, take the trouble to find out exactly what they mean. For instance, a “biodegradable” product might refer to materials that release toxic substances to the environment as it degrades. Technically, the label is correct, but it does not make the product friendly to the environment.
Some companies are content to gloss over the green claims of a product, which is bad, but others lie about it outright, which is worse. Since labeling of green products is largely unregulated, these companies are free to make claims on their labels without legal repercussions. You have to dig a little deeper to find out how much basis these claims have in reality.
Look for certification
Manufacturers can put all the greenwash terms and phrases they want without fear of consequences. However, if they want certification, they have to be a lot more circumspect to pass the rigorous product testing. Organizations certify for different aspects of a product, and a few of them specialize in certain types of environment benefits. Among the reputable organizations for green products are Cradle to Cradle, EnergyStar, and WaterSense.
You have some measure of assurance that a product is green if you see one or more of these stamps of approval from recognized organizations. If you are not familiar with some of the certifications, they are easy enough to look up online.
You should note, however, that some truly green products might not have any certifications. This is because of cost. Getting certification is often a long and expensive process, and some companies might not have the resources for it. Alternatively, some products might be still undergoing verification at the time. In either case, you simply have to dig a little deeper.
You might be surprised at the number of forums and discussion boards available online exclusively for reviewing green products. People tend to be quite passionate about this, so you might be able to find something about the product you need. You might also post your own question on them for other people to answer.
You can also head on to the website of the company manufacturing the product and find out more about it. Call or chat with the customer support to get technical and other information about the claims of environmental friendliness about the product
Look for the fine print
Companies often use the fine print to get away with making vague claims since most people do not bother to read them. They use it to qualify claims of environmental benefits to which they can refer when people complain. This is a sneaky tactic, and very effective for covering their bases.
For instance, the company might use recycled materials in their products, and it makes sure that everybody knows about it. What it does not advertise is that the products use a heck of a lot of fossil fuel energy to produce, which offsets any benefit of using recycled materials to the environment.
You have to make a point of looking at the big picture when assessing the environmental impact of a product. Look at the materials, process, source, and packaging before making an assessment.
Above all, take everything a company says about the environmental benefits of a product with a pinch of salt. Some companies might claim they are going to great lengths to give a little extra back to the environment, when they are doing just the minimum to meet government regulations. For instance, they might put something like “Lead Free!” or “CFC Free!” and make it seem like a big deal, but in fact, all companies have been required to do this for many years now. This is another type of slick marketing, so be on the watch for them (skeptical looking person)
Choosing truly green countertops require a bit of effort on your part, but worth it in the end. It helps if you source your kitchen countertops from a reputable company, as you only have to ask them for green products to get them. Keystone Granite & Tile is your best bet in the areas of Columbus, Ohio, Delaware cities, Lancaster and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
We have showrooms in Lancaster and Horsham, Pennsylvania as well as New Castle, Delaware and Columbus, Ohio. We will walk you through each slab and explain how each can benefit you and the environment for your kitchen or bathroom remodel. If you prefer engineered stones, we also carry the top brands in the industry such as Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI, all with manufacturer warranties and with sustainability assurances from reputable certifying bodies.
Once you have chosen your slabs, we provide free professional design consultation and quotes so you know exactly where you are before committing. We also have a quick turnaround, so you will get your products on time and on budget.
We are experts at fabricating and installing engineered stone and granite countertops, so you can be confident that you will get the very best in product and service quality. Give us a call or send us an inquiry through our website to set the ball rolling!