At first glance, the notion of making a kitchen countertop out of recycled paper may seem just silly--a joke perhaps, or at least a terrible idea destined for failure. But in actuality, recycled paper countertops are among the most durable and adaptable of today's kitchen work surfaces.
The recycled paper countertop material now available to consumers was originally developed for use in industrial settings, and has been used successfully for years as a heavy-duty surface in commercial kitchens, in the marine and aerospace industries, and even on skateboard ramps. If this material can hold up under the relentless use and abuse of Tony Hawk and his peers, you can feel confident that it will prove equal to the challenges of your kitchen.
To create the dense and impermeable countertop material, recycled paper and reclaimed pulp are highly compressed and combined with a phenolic resin. Phenolic resins are usually plant-derived and do not outgas – that is, they do not give out harmful chemical fumes that degrade indoor air quality and pose a health hazard.
Tough yet attractive, recycled paper countertops are highly resistant to heat, moisture, scratches and stains. The material is typically heat-resistant to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Your countertop will neither stain nor scratch very easily, but since the material tends to be dark in color, and each slab is the same solid color throughout its thickness, if any stains or scratches do occur, they will not be very noticeable.
Recycled paper countertop material is available in varying thicknesses, from 1/4 inch to 2 inches. You can cut and shape it with standard woodworking tools. Once it's installed, your recycled paper countertop is easy to care for. Every so often, you can renew the finish and restore luster to the surface by applying a natural oil or wax finishing compound.