10 Green Countertops

Stainless Steel
Some stainless steels on the market contain 100 percent recycled materials. iStock/Thinkstock

Stainless steel is another material you may not have considered as very eco-friendly. After all, it is a mix of several different metals that have to be mined, including nickel, steel and chromium. The mining alone is a disruptive, energy-intensive process that makes stainless steel less than green.

But things are not always as they seem. In fact, there are stainless steels on the market that contain up to 65, 80 or even 100 percent recycled materials [source: U.S. Building Council's Green Home Guide]. While recycling the material requires energy, it is a fraction of what is needed to extract the metals through virgin mining.

With stainless steel countertops, you don't have to worry about what environmentalists refer to as offgas or emission of VOCs from the actual countertop. Additionally, you can use mechanical fasteners to attach the countertops so you don't have resins or glues or other chemicals affecting air quality.

When you're finished with your stainless steel countertop and ready to remodel again, the countertop can be recycled and reused, another huge plus.