Greener Goods

in

Environmentally-friendly designer Sue Bennett helps take the guesswork out of greening your home.

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Chrome vs. Stainless Steel

Greener good: stainless steel

The chrome-plating process employs heavy metals and acids (both environmental no-nos) and kicks off a lot of manufacturing waste. Stainless steel on the other hand, is raw material and 100 per cent recyclable.

Marble and Granite vs. Quartz

Greener good: quartz

No matter the size of your kitchen, a granite countertop will carry a heavy carbon footprint. Most marble and granite is sourced from Italy and Greece and has a long way to travel to your front door. Quartz is made closer to home and low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The manufacturing process is also less wasteful than other materials.

Exotic vs. Sustainable Wood

Greener good: sustainable wood

No surprise here. Exotic wood's biggest selling point (uniqueness) is also its biggest downfall; it's sourced from slow-growing species of trees that aren't rapidly renewable resources. Its exotic roots (e.g. Africa, Brazil) mean a big carbon footprint as well.

Sustainable wood is hands-down the more environmentally-friendly choice: It's locally manufactured, comes FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council), is a rapidly renewable resource and can be installed as a floating floor without toxic glues.

Natural vs. Synthetic Carpet

Greener good: natural carpet

Synthetic rugs contain nasty petroleum-based off-gassers, such as nylon, polypropylene and polyester, and often cannot be recycled. Natural-fibre carpets (e.g. wool, cotton, hemp, sisal) are not only the greener choice, but the healthier one as well.

Vinyl vs. Natural Wallpaper

Greener good: natural wallpaper

Vinyl wallpaper is another off-gasser. You can breathe easy with natural papers on your walls, which are available FSC-certified and featuring vegetable and water-based inks and dyes.

Marmoleum vs. Vinyl Flooring

Greener good: marmoleum

Vinyl's no better on the floor than the wall. As a petroleum-based product, it leaches toxic by-products into landfills. On the other hand, Marmoleum is a biodegradable product made from wood flour and linseed oil.

Two green thumbs up!

 

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