Eco-friendly kitchen worktops : Grand Designs Magazine Eco-friendly kitchen worktops

Eco-friendly kitchen surface ideas

Worksurfaces that look great, perform well and are kind to the planet

By Paula Woods | 6 December 2022

There are plenty of ways to lower the impact of your new kitchen. If you’re starting from scratch, research eco-friendly kitchen design ideas. For a simple refresh, consider sustainable wall and flooring options, greener paints, and eco-friendly kitchen worktops like those explored below.

Marble-look porcelain

Made from natural minerals bonded together under extreme heat and pressure, sintered stone, also known as porcelain, is recyclable, hardwearing and joint free. It comes in finishes that replicate the look of stone and marble. This Onirika sintered stone worksurface and splashback is made of Dekton, a carbon-neutral product from Consentino.

Onirika sintered stone worksurface and splashback in Neural, Dekton by Consentino.

Photo: Consentino

Solvent-free surfaces

To ensure good indoor air quality, avoid products that include solvent-based resins or sealants and look for Greenguard certification that guarantees low chemical and particle emissions. This 5121 Layalite quartz composite worksurface and splashback is made from Greenguard-certified natural quartz aggregate from Caesarstone.

5121 Layalite quartz composite worksurface and splashback made from natural quartz aggregate, Greenguard-certified.

Photo: Caeserstone

Bamboo worktops

With a distinctive grain pattern, bamboo is durable and water resistant when sealed. Plus, its surface can be sanded back to remove any marks. Here, Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens’ Bamboo worksurface is paired with 100% recycled timber particleboard cabinets.

Bamboo worksurface, from £340.80 per sqm, 100 per cent recycled timber particleboard cabinets with handleless doors in Olive Green Sustainable kitchen worktop

Photo: Dug Wilders

Recycled terrazzo

Traditionally, fragments of stone were embedded in concrete to make terrazzo. Recent formulas use recycled glass chips, timber scraps or waste stone pieces bound in an eco-friendly resin. This FSC-certified timber and bio-based resin terrazzo worksurface and splashback is from Foresso, paired with bespoke birch plywood cabinets in Brockwell Moss from Pluck.

FSC-certified timber and bio-based resin terrazzo worksurface and splashback in Ivory, Cedar and Walnut, Bespoke birch plywood cabinets in Brockwell Moss, Photo: Foresso

Photo: Pluck

Reclaimed timber worktops

Timber reclaimed from old industrial furniture, floorboards and even scaffolding planks can be repurposed for eco-friendly kitchen worktops and tabletops. Here, Retrouvius has used reclaimed iroko school laboratory tops as kitchen worktops, paired with cabinets from British Standard by Plain English.

Reclaimed iroko school laboratory tops, from £228 per sqm, Retrouvius ( Kitchen cabinets from £590 for a 440mm single base unit, British Standard by Plain English. Sustainable kitchen worktop

Photo: British Standard by Plain English

Recycled stainless steel

Stainless steel is incredibly robust and recyclable. Its tendency to show scratch marks can be minimised by selecting a brushed finish. This bespoke Matte Fenix kitchen features a stainless-steel worksurface with custom-made integrated sink from Papilio.

eco-friendly kitchen worktops: stainless-steel can be recycled, making it a surprisingly sustainable worksurface option

Photo: Papilio

Copper worktops

Copper is infinitely recyclable and has antibacterial properties. It will develop a patina over time and use, resulting in a unique sustainable kitchen worktop. This Devol Haberdasher’s kitchen has a bespoke aged-copper worksurface and integrated drainer.

Haberdasher’s kitchen with bespoke aged copper worksurface and integrated drainer, Devol. Sustainable kitchen worktop

Photo: Devol Kitchens

Recycled glass

Several UK-based manufacturers, such as Diamik Glass and Resilica, produce durable and scratch resistant surfaces made from recycled glass. The below eco-friendly kitchen worktop and splashback by Resilica are bespoke and made with recycled glass.

Bespoke recycled glass worksurface and splashback, Resilica

Photo: Adelina Lliev

Compressed paper

Paperstone and Richlite make sleek and hardwearing kitchen worktops from recycled and FSC-certified paper that’s compressed and bound with resin. Find Paperstone at CDUK and Richlite at Surface Matter. This kitchen by 202 Design features Richlite worksurface and doors.

eco-friendly kitchen worktops: Richlite worksurface and kitchen cabinets in grey and white in a renovated period home

Photo: Peter Landers

Plastic kitchen worktops

Recycled plastic can be turned into solid surfaces. Durat is made from post-industrial waste, and Smile Plastics produces designs from packaging and refuse. This renovation project by Bazar Studio and QSA features Alba worksurface and panels made from recycled yoghurt pots by Smile Plastics.

Alba worksurface and panels made from recycled yoghurt pots, Smile Plastics. Renovation project by Bazar Studio and QSA.

Photo: Florien Berenguer

Certified timber

Once sealed against heat or water damage, FSC- or PEFC-certified timber performs well for decades. Oak, beech, walnut and ash are all excellent eco-friendly kitchen worktop choices. This Cley Shaker kitchen by Naked Kitchens features an FSC-certified oak Super Stave worksurface from Norfolk Oak.

eco-friendly kitchen worktops: FSC-certified oak worksurface with butler sink and blue cabinets

Photo: Naked Kitchens

Composite overlay

To avoid replacing a tired, old worksurface, simply install a composite overlay on top. This one is manufactured with 72% recycled post-consumer glass content. This white quartz and recycled glass overlay is from Granite & Trend Transformations.

White quartz and recycled glass overlay, Granite & Trend Transformations.

Photo: Granite & Trend Transformations