10 Green Countertops

Bamboo doesn't require harmful glues and its tensile strength is more than steel's. iStock/Thinkstock

Bamboo isn't just that stuff pandas like to chew on; it also makes for an attractive and green alternative to traditional countertop materials like stone and plastic.

A native of Asia, bamboo is a fast-growing -- and therefore highly renewable -- plant. The material doesn't require harmful glues and can be fashioned into countertops with standard tools [sources: Whiteley, Stewart].

If that's not enough to convince you to consider bamboo, chew on this: It has more tensile strength than steel. The material has nevertheless remained reasonably priced compared to less-exotic stone products. It's also easy on the eyes, ranging in colors from deep chestnut to light blonde and can be cut into squares or rectangles for mixing and matching [sources: Whiteley, Stewart].

Bamboo isn't without its drawbacks. Some forms are susceptible to stains, not to mention nicks, cuts and slices from utensils and other sharp objects [source: Dwell].