Help me find a "green" kitchen cabinet.
January 23, 2011 5:36 PM   Subscribe

What is the best source for reputable "eco-friendly" kitchen cabinets?

In our ongoing process of upgrading our home with "eco-friendliness," we are trying to find low-VOC, low-environmental-impact kitchen cabinets (eg, FSC certified wood or wheatboard). However, I am having a hard time finding reviews of this type of kitchen cabinet. What is good? What will last? Which company should we choose?

Or should we be finding a local cabinet-maker who is open to using "green" materials? If so, how do I find a reputable cabinet-maker in my area? I am lost on how to find reviews of local cabinet-makers (I'm in Balto/Wash area).

Also, I'm also trying to do this within a "reasonable" budget--ie, not "high end." I'm sure this throws a wrench in my goal...

This process is overwhelming. I'm ultimately looking for advice based on personal mefite experience or other suggestions on how to find reviews of cabinetry materials, big green cabinet-makers, or local cabinet-makers.

PS Yes I am aware of the idea of going to a Restore type of place and using second-hand cabinetry. I don't have the bandwidth for that.

posted by rabidsegue to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You're probably also aware that the most eco-friendly option might be to keep the cabinets you already have. That said, I recognize that life is a series of compromises, and I applaud your desire to make a responsible choice.

To find a local cabinet-maker, check out local home magazines, shows, etc. If there's a local sustainability group, see if they have suggestions. If you know people in the trades, or if you know someone whose (recently-redone) kitchen you like, or if there are local builders who specialize in low-impact construction, ask them who they would recommend. When you find some candidates, ask them for references, then talk to these people and, if possible, see the work in person.
posted by box at 5:48 PM on January 23, 2011

I would guess your best option is to find a eco friendly material that you like and then ask around and see who uses it.

After that just call references and look at the photos of past projects.
posted by Felex at 6:12 PM on January 23, 2011

Since you aren't keen on the best options (re-use, reclaim or refacing), here are some eco-friendly cabinet providers...Urban Prairie and Breathe Easy. Where are you located?
posted by jeanmari at 6:24 PM on January 23, 2011

Don't let yourself be too fooled by the whole "green" movement in construction, though.. The fact of the matter is, plywood (which is going to make up the bulk of your cabinets) is made of nothing but wood and glue... Any poly or paint that is used to finish the cabs will likely fall under the 2007 VOC laws which basically forces all finishes sold in anything greater than a quart sized container to be "green" anyways... These laws were passed on a state by state basis based on the amount of air pollution present in the state. To my knowledge, very few states escaped the law...

Just make sure you find out exactly what makes these cabinets "eco friendly" before you go and spend the extra 30-50% on them...
posted by Glendale at 7:05 PM on January 23, 2011

Green is a relative thing, with a lot of meaningless standards that have been added into the mix by those who mean well and some who don't. Also, human toxicity and environmental impact do not fly in tight formation so things that I wouldn't want a lot of in my home are relatively environmentally benign (methanol) and things that we don't worry too much about do a mess of environmental damage (copper).

So, I concur with all the advice given here and just want to add that the most environmentally friendly cabinets may be the ones that are well enough made that 75-100 years from now they'll still be on the walls being used every day, rather than in a landfill along with two generations of replacements.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:11 PM on January 23, 2011

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