One of the increasingly popular countertop choices are those made of recycled paper. PaperStone is one of the more well-known brands. http://paperstoneproducts.com/
PaperStone products are made from post-consumer waste, recycled paper and proprietary, petroleum-free, phenolic resins. This product is so durable and stable, that it can be used as an exterior rain-screen material. It comes in a variety of great color and a couple of options for recycled content. For us, the down-side of PaperStone are that it’s manufactured in the state of Washington and must be shipped here. It comes in sheets 60” x 144”, which is much larger than our bathroom vanities, so it’s not too practical for small projects.
Recycled paper counters can be worked with regular wordworking tools.
Another more local option is Shetka Stone. http://www.shetkastone.com/ It is made in LeCenter MN. There are less color options, but there is this funky shredded money option. Talk about a conversation-starter! I’m not sure what kind of message is sent by having countertops made of shredded money?
Our cabinetry makers, Eastvold Custom, introduced the idea of going with a Richlite laminate. Richlite is also a recycled paper product and has been around for decades in such uses as skate board park surfaces. http://www.richlite.com/
We are going to use a black ¼” surface laminated to a high density substrate for our master bathroom. The substrate and core material at this countertop and all our cabinetry is no environmental slouch either - as we are using the "Sky Blend" family of products - SCS and EPP certified and free of formaldehyde among other little nasties.
For the shared bathroom, we are splurging a bit on a recycled glass terrazzo countertop (at $75/square foot). Natural Built Home, http://www.naturalbuilthome.com/products/counter_tops_7/
carries many green countertop materials, including PaperStone and two types of recycled glass countertops. We are going to go with the locally produced, Element Surfaces recycled glass terrazzo countertops. http://www.elementsurfaces.com/
In addition to using recycled glass aggregates in our castings, the resins are free of volatile organic compounds, and off-gas no fumes or chemicals during or after curing. We are able to totally customize this countertop by selecting the glass chip color, the size and percentage of each. This sample was created for us based on a mix of gray, clear, orange and amber glass in a gray matrix. It’s pretty close, but for the final, we will tweak the sizing and percentages a bit. I think it will look great with the gray floor tile and orange glass tile.