When you spend several hours in the kitchen daily, it’s nice to have a quality countertop to look at and work on. But what’s equally important in our home is having one that the environment also appreciates. The vinyl linoleum countertop that was installed when our house was built (aka before I was born) was worn out. We needed a replacement; but after becoming psychotic environmentalists (joking! Maybe…), more vinyl was out of the question.
Thankfully, we found a company–Curava–that makes countertops from recycled glass, quartz, and resin. The glass they use comes from discarded glass bottles, window glass, and even windshield glass—and for every square foot of countertop, approximately 25 bottles are taken from landfills. They also have a zero water-waste manufacturing process, which makes my heart (and Mother Earth) happy.
Each countertop is made up of approximately 60% recycled glass, 30% quartz, and 10% resin, and there are multiple color choices, which you can find here. Some colors contain seashell fragments, though, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a vegan product.
We had our countertop installed several years ago, and save for a few chips near the sink, it looks pretty much just as good now as it did then; the shine hasn’t dulled, and there aren’t any scratches. There are, however, a few chips near the sink, but this can be easily explained. Imagine, if you will: A beautiful new glass countertop and a large, 5-pound cast iron pan in the hands of Taylor. When subject to brutal treatment such as this, the countertop may chip. Good news, though! If you’re conscientious while you work, this can be avoided! We haven’t had any additional chipping, even on the mornings when Taylor’s running late for work and rushing around like a madwoman.
And since Mama spends more time in the kitchen than anyone else, it’s only fitting that she contribute her thoughts on the subject:
I think it was back in around 2008 that I first came across the concept of glass countertops and I knew immediately that I wanted one. The combination of natural beauty and recycling waste materials was enough to make me all swoony inside. (Especially considering how much of my life I spend in the kitchen!) But as a stay-at-home mom, funds were tight, and at that point a new kitchen wasn’t a necessity, but only a dream.
Fast forward through another eight years of hard living in the kitchen, and our old vinyl counters had seen much better days. Much better days. Even after repeated repairs, they were still coming apart at the seams. The color and finish were worn away in places, and they were looking pretty (wretchedly) terrible; it was impossible to ignore the problem any longer. And even though I didn’t know how we’d afford it, my dream was about to become my reality. It was finally time to invest the effort into finding a company I approved of, and the money into making this happen. And in 2016, we did just that.
Were they expensive? To me? Yes. Very much so. I don’t really know how the price compares to other quality countertops, but our bill came to roughly $3800 for fifty-six square feet of Curava’s recycled glass countertop. And $3800 will buy an awful lot of groceries. So for us, it was a huge investment. But, honestly, it was worth every penny, and four years later I’m just as swoony now as I was on the day my kitchen was beautifully transformed.
Just As Much Now
We discovered Curava through our local Lowes store. The process did require having a technician first come out and take measurements, and then to return for the installation. But the team was clean, courteous, and professional, and I had no complaints from start to finish. It took them an hour or two (if I remember correctly) to install the pieces. Perhaps they could have moved more quickly without a family of five eagerly watching their every move. But we’re like that, so…we did. And it was fun, watching a dream manifest before my eyes.
After a small, initial learning curve (be gentle around the sink, especially when handling heavy cast iron pans!), our countertops look as beautiful today as the day they were installed. Seriously, the resin binder means that they’re virtually scratch free, and as of yet, I haven’t found a single one. The resin (versus cement) also means that they’re pretty much maintenance free. The counter was polished before coming to me and requires no further or continued sealing through the years. I use my handy lemongrass all purpose cleaner to keep it clean and sanitary, and cork trivets safely protect it from the heat of pans and dishes.
To No End
The small chips have all happened at the edge (three out of four of them are around the sink) and while they can be felt, they aren’t really visible to the eye. There have been no more chips since those first ones. Nor, as I mentioned, are there scratches, stains, or signs of wear. There is one seam which you would probably only see if you were looking for it; it was carefully set and is really only noticeable through touch. The backsplash is also a separate piece so there is a seam along the entire back edge also.
Overall, I’m pleased with the company’s eco-friendly efforts. The recycled glass content is collected from landfills and other post-consumer, post-industrial resources. They also manufacture the counters using “a variety of green friendly methods including a zero-waste manufacturing process.” Does that thrill me? To no end.
But, of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the resin binder. Because while the 100% post consumer glass content is fabulously eco-friendly, synthetic binders…are not. Before we purchased the countertops I did my research and am fairly certain that I remember reading that Curava uses a (at least partly based) corn resin. Which would be wonderful. But in the drafting of this post, both Riley Mae and I spent quite a bit of time trying to confirm that and came up with nothing. I would imagine that if the resin were indeed still somewhat eco-friendly the company would know the value of promoting that. But since we found nothing to support my vague memory, I’ll have to go on the assumption that it’s a plastic-based resin. (I did send a message to Curava; if I find out differently I’ll be thrilled to update this post.)
The potentially plastic resin does detract quite a bit from the sustainability and greenness of this product, especially considering that from what I’ve read, a corn-based resin is possible. (Please get on that, Curava!) I do comfort myself with the fact that with care, these counters should last a lifetime, and also that only 10% of the total product is resin. Compared with vinyl (which is environmentally toxic) and even granite and marble (both unsustainable, nonrenewable, requiring energy intensive manufacturing processes, and environmentally bad), I still feel like my Curava choice was the best for me. Especially in a home where the kitchen is the place in which a good portion of our life unfolds. I expect these counters to last me for many, many years. Ideally, my lifetime.
And now, since I’ve effectively hijacked Riley Mae’s post, I’ll let her wrap it up. But am I happy? Do I love them? Would I recommend them? I am, I do, and I would, on all three counts.
So, all in all, this is a great countertop. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking to give their kitchen an eco-friendly update. If you’re interested in where you can find a Curava distributor near you, click here. And if you want more eco-friendly product reviews, click here.
Thanks for stopping by! Riley Mae