While there are a lot of green countertop materials out here - bamboo butcher block for example, I want to mention just one more before moving on to a different topic; recycled glass composite counters.
Glass countertops are marketed under a number of brand names including Ice Stone®, EnviroSLAB® and Vetrazzo®.
The base for recycled glass countertops are of two varieties - concrete and resin. Most of what was said here about concrete's versatility, stain and scratch resistance applies to glass countertops except that the latter are greener than straight concrete. The glass tops contain as much as 85 percent recycled glass, obviously pulling large quantities out of landfills. But that amount of glass correspondingly reduces the volume of concrete used in the casting process. While concrete is sustainable it is not, as we have said earlier, a particularly green material because of the energy consumed and pollution concreted during its manufacture.
There are various types of resin that are used as a matrix for the other type of glass countertop. These resins are proprietary to the manufacturer but should you decide to select this product for your kitchen investigate the manufacturing process thoroughly. Not all of the resins are free from petroleum not are they all immune from off-gassing volatile organic chemicals.
Glass countertops are cast and then polished in such a way that nearly all of the glass particles on the surface are exposed. This gives the countertops not only color but a reflective quality that actually sparkles under some light conditions. The countertop is sealed with one of a variety of finishes (again check on the manufacturing process as above) so the glass pieces that appear to be on the surface really are not.
There are almost an infinite variety of colors available as the glass aggregate can be one color or a half dozen colors and can match or contrast with a huge selection of concrete or resin hues. As you might expect, white, green, and amber glass are the most readily available and other colors often carry a premium price.
A similar product is made by a few manufacturers using recycled porcelain from sources such as old plumbing fixtures instead of glass. This gives the surface an appearance very similar to that of terrazzo but with greater strength and durability.
Recycled glass countertops are also reusable. Some fabricators accept used product and may cut new countertops from large pieces or grind the material down and reform it. Glass countertops can be down-cycled into tiles, roadbed aggregate, or landscaping materials.
We were unable to find much pricing information on recycled glass countertops, but what we did find indicates that it is similar in price to regular concrete tops, starting at around $125 psf.