Eco-Friendly Kitchen Sinks
For those who are interested in this new trend, there are two things to know. First, the sinks that are affordable, are not completely eco-friendly. Second, there are different aspects of sustainability and thus many buying choices to pick from if you care about the environment.
These are the features you need to look at when shopping for an eco-friendly sink, to name only a few:
Color and material
- Stainless steel – most popular, doesn’t rust, stain, or scratch easily, and looks sleek and modern.
- Copper – long lasting, visually stunning, scratch resistant, but requires care to avoid a buildup of patina and then subsequent corrosion.
- Porcelain – it is cast iron or steel sink coated with porcelain, which looks good, but it is prone to chipping and rusting, and harder to clean stains from.
- Cast-iron – they always have to be coated with porcelain or other materials or would rust in a day, but they are the sturdiest and can last forever.
- Granite and composite – unique look, many different colors, made of crushed and glued granite pebbles, can stain, chip, and scratch, but not very easily.
- White sinks – made of stainless steel, cast iron with porcelain coating, or granite composite.
- Black sinks – again, black finish can be on stainless steel, cast iron, or granite.
- Kohler – great quality, $200-$3,000 for stainless steel and cast iron sinks.
- American Standard – functional, traditional, stainless steel or enameled cast iron. The company also has water saving Edgewater faucet collection.
- Franke – stainless steel, fireclay ceramic, and granite composite sinks that can be cleaned without chemicals.
- Swanstone – compression molded material and granite composite sinks.
- Elkay – a huge collection of stainless steel sinks, water fountain with bottle filling station inventers, Revere line features recycled stainless steel sinks.
- Blanco – high end German manufacturer of stainless steel, ceramic, and their custom granite composite SILGRANIT sinks.
- Valpak: Printable Coupons, Online Promo Codes, & Local Deals.
- 20OFF.com: Shopping News, Secret Shopping Hacks, Tips and Tricks, and Discounts for Major Stores.
- Coupons.com: Printable Coupons & Coupon Codes.
- Undermount – clean and sleek look is achieved by a sink being mounted right under the countertop material.
- Topmount – the most popular and easiest method for installation with edges going over the countertop material.
- Corner – mostly in custom built kitchens for maximizing the wasted space and unique look.
- Farmhouse – also called “apron front” sinks that are retro and feature a kitchen counter interrupting front, which is hanging over the top of the counter.
- Single basin – these sinks are becoming more popular, especially if you don’t have trash disposal and are not very fastidious.
- Sinks with drain boards – drain board is an area attached to the sink and dedicated to drying dishes and water run-off, which is not as important now that most homes have dishwashers. This type of sinks is still very popular in restaurant kitchens.
- Deep basin sinks – customers love them because you can put more pots inside and don’t get splashed as much while washing.
- Sinks for kitchen island – any style that can be used for regular kitchen, can be used here, but all the plumbing work will cost a pretty penny for installation.
- Tiny sinks – they can be as small as 13” and work great for small houses, RVs, boats, or as bar sinks.
- Outdoor sinks – if you cook outside a lot and have money for extra plumbing, go for it. Keep in mind that in most states you will have to winterize it.
- Double basin – for kitchens with trash disposal, one side is usually smaller for food disposal, and another larger for washing.
- Salvage sinks – the most eco-friendly, often vintage, cool features, but make sure you know to check for lead in the coating.
- Free-standing sinks – mostly used for bathrooms, but can work for modern remodeled kitchen if you don’t cook there a lot.
- Inexpensive – look for online sales or sales at your local stores, but do know what you want before shopping. If it doesn’t have to be new, check local salvage stores.
- Contemporary – you can find them in the houses of early adopters or architects, they are innovative, unusually shaped, and unique.
Sink accessories you will most likely need:
- Cabinets under the sinks for storage
- Kitchen sink faucets for obvious reasons
- Kitchen sink sprayers for reaching hard to reach spots
- Kitchen sink drains for water drainage
- Kitchen sink protective mats to protect from slipping and breaking glasses
- Kitchen sink caddies for useful storage
Most sinks in the U.S. are made of stainless steel, which comes from iron ore, a non-renewable resource that is mined. Other materials, such as cast iron, copper, concrete, and granite are all from non-renewable sources.
The only one affordable sink from renewable material is bamboo sink, but Amazon reviews state that you should probably stay away from it.
You can get a truly eco-friendly sink from Premier Copper Products, made from recycled copper by hand in Mexico for a cool $1,500. Native Trails also offer copper sinks made by artists in Mexico for at least $2,598. While too expensive for most of us, they are truly beautiful and statement-making.
There is some very good news though – the most eco-friendly sink is the cheapest. Yes, you read it right, you can visit your local salvage store and get a full size used sink for $20. You will only spend gas for driving and months for research and waiting to get the size and quality you need.
Let’s take a look at some positive sides of looking for the most eco-friendly sinks:
Stainless steel sinks are not that bad, even though they are not 100% recycled. Most of them are made of at least some recycled stainless steel; take Elkay’s Revere line, for example, which features sinks made from at least 80% recycled stainless steel. Stainless steel can last for generations and then get recycled. Just make sure you will be willing to recycle many years down the road for the sake of the environmental responsibility.
The most popular materials for sinks in our country are stainless steel, copper, porcelain-enameled, and granite composite. All of them need mining and pose none to low health risks. For example, copper can be leaked if scratched badly, older enameled porcelain sinks might contain lead, and composite ones are made with some chemical adhesives. Prices of all those sinks range from $200 to about $2,500, but you can get $4,500 or $6,000 stainless steel or copper sink if you so desire.
Some final thoughts about picking a perfect sink:
- Only you can prevent sinks from clogging. Make sure you keep food away, use a strainer, and once in a while flush the sink with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
- If you want to install a sink yourself, you totally can. Most manufacturers want you to buy a more expensive sink rather than pay $500 to a plumber. Top mount sinks are easy to install, but many manufacturers are coming up with collections of easy-to-install ones too.
- Most sinks are standard, so replacing parts is very easy. You can replace faucet, sprayer, stopper, and even waste disposal relatively easy.