Thursday 27th October 2016                 Change text size:

How to make your kitchen refit eco friendly

Eco Kitchen via Flickr

A survey of homeowners’ renovation plans has found that 38% of kitchen refits are driven by the value this may add to our homes. And understandably so, with research showing that a new kitchen may add at least £5,000 to a property’s price. However, adding value doesn’t have to mean buying all new items and doesn’t have to have an impact on the environment.

The look and feel of a kitchen is what drives the majority of us to update our kitchen. With this in mind here are some ideas for renovating your kitchen with eco-friendliness in mind.

Buy second hand if you can…

A shocking 49% of us plan on gutting our existing kitchens and starting again. But, that doesn’t mean we have to pay over the odds for new furniture and appliances. While many buy items new, second hand shopping is certainly a more sustainable alternative.

Auctions and sites like Ebay are the ideal places to find cheap second hand furniture and appliances, while Freecycle allows you to pick up items for free in your local area. This means less waste generally without contributing to the CO2 emissions associated with manufacturing and shipping new items.

It is equally sustainable to sell things on if you can. But if you do decide to dispose of old cabinets, flooring or appliances it is important to oversee this process as much as possible. If you don’t have the means to take items to charity shops or recycling centres yourself, you might consider using a green disposal company. Clearance Solutions, for example, donate items to charity, as well as providing a breakdown of how your goods have been recycled. It is this level of transparency that makes clearance and removal services environmentally reliable.

…But what about bespoke items?

While there are some things you can’t get second hand, there are still environmentally-friendly choices to make. Worktops are a great example of this, as the Houzz survey showed, 93% of people updating their kitchens plan to replace worktops. While most counters are custom shapes and sizes and require specialist fitting, there are still sustainable options to consider. In this case, it really comes down to your choice of material.

According to Modern Worktops, quartz is the least likely to release harmful gases compared to other stone surfaces. The previously mentioned survey however, gave evidence that granite lasts longer and has a more universal appeal, with 50% of people replacing worktops with it. Compared to the 38% who choose quartz, this could make granite the best choice to reduce waste. The chances are a granite surface will last longer, even if you decide to sell up.

For more adventurous homeowners, there are worktops that come in a variety of colours that are made using recycled materials such as bottles collected from bars and restaurants. While UrbnRok can be made to look more neutral like quartz and granite worktops, the types of bottles used can give it a unique emerald green colour to really make a statement.

Try your hand at upcycling

More often than not, your wooden cabinets, and flooring are what make your kitchen look dated. But sometimes these are the most durable aspects of kitchen design, so it’s a shame to remove them completely. In this case upcycling can be the most transformative, eco-friendly and low-cost option.

Oak kitchen cabinets, for example, may look old and dark. But wooden cabinets are very durable and often remain in good condition for decades. So, a lick of paint and some new knobs is often all you need to bring them up to date.

Pale cabinets often make a room feel more spacious, so it may be beneficial to do a white undercoat before making any more colour choices.

The same can be true of floorboards. Where, darker wood floors can look dull and dated sanding them down and selecting a lighter coloured stain can give them a new lease of life.


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