Finding environmentally friendly furnishings and home decor used to be a challenge. Products were either hard to find or out of reach price-wise for the average consumer. Today however, eco conscious flooring, window coverings, and counter tops are becoming much more accessible. Even major national retailers are selling things like bamboo linens, biodegradable cleaning products, and energy efficient appliances.
Here are a few of the latest green products for your home. They've been selected based on their aesthetics, functionality, and their innovative use of recycled materials.
1. Green Planet Paints has created a line of interior paints that produce zero volatile organic compounds, so they won't negatively affect your indoor air quality. Non-toxic and reasonably priced, these environmentally friendly paints are available in over forty colors that will match any décor.
2. Vetrazzo has become one of the hottest products around. Made out of recycled glass shards, Vetrazzo surfaces can be used for flooring, counter tops, and more. Vetrazzo is smooth to the touch, heat-resistant and beautiful to look at, and offer a great alternative to marble or granite.
3. Another option for counter tops comes from a small business owner in Washington State. Squak Mountain Stone was created by Ameé Quiriconi as a means of reducing landfill, and stimulating the local economy. Defined on its site as "a fibrous-cement material comprised of recycled paper, recycled glass, coal fly-ash and cement," Squak Mountain Stone has all the good looks and durability of natural stone, but weighs much less and is made from recycled materials.
4. Featured in several national publications, the designers of SCRAPILE have developed quite a fan-following. SCRAPILE's Bart Bettencourt and Carlos Salgado's goal was to create lasting pieces that are stylish to look at, functional in the home, and good for the environment. They have achieved their goal by building stunning tables, chairs, and accessories out of scrap pieces of lumber.
5. Along the same lines as New York's SCRAPILE, the talented coppersmiths of Cobre take scraps of discarded copper and make hand-hammered copper sinks, wall hangings, and vases. Reclaiming unused copper keeps materials out of landfills, and provides homeowners with a unique surface that has naturally germ-killing properties. In addition, Cobre is a Fair Trade company, so you can feel good knowing that the artisans who make the products receive a competitive wage for their work.
6. Philips' Eco TV is a 42-inch, flat-panel LCD television set that runs on only 75 watts of power. The unit contains no lead-based materials, has an energy saving stand-by mode, and comes in a recycled box. You get all these benefits plus high definition picture quality, and the unit retails for just under $1400.
7. For green laundry enthusiasts, there are now new options for washing your clothes without wasting water or energy. Wonderwash is a new hand crank washer that handles a 5lb load in minutes, without the use of electricity. You also only require about 10% of the water used in traditional washing machines, and it's a real space saver too. An added bonus is the great arm workout you get when you have multiple loads to do, and the product is affordably priced at only $42.95.
8. The Spin-X Spin Dryer would make a lovely companion appliance to the Wonderwash. Clothes dry in half the time, which means that the machine uses half the energy of standard units. Clothes last longer because they're exposed to less heat and tumbling action, and less heat is pumped into the room, which makes doing laundry on a hot summer day less of a chore.
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