Green Kitchen Cabinets Quiz

Staff

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About This Quiz

Think you know all the ways to keep your kitchen cabinets eco-friendly and still stylish? Take our quiz and find out.

Kitchen cabinets are too bulky and cumbersome to be easily recycled.

Although it might not always be feasible to remove cabinetry, once removed the cabinets are easily recyclable, either at a local recycling center or as reused if sold/donated.

Older kitchen cabinets (made before 1975) tend to be smaller than modern cabinets.

It's important to measure older cabinets that you plan on reclaiming or renovating since vintage styles were made for smaller kitchens.

There's minimal difference between custom-built and modular cabinets.

Modular cabinets are not designed and perfectly fitted to your kitchen space, so measuring is extremely important. Also, modular cabinets are more green since they can be reused and moved easily.

Dovetail joints are the sturdiest option in cabinet construction.

When looking for high quality, check the joints of cabinets to make sure they are dovetailed rather than simply stapled or glued. The high quality will ensure that the cabinets stay out of the landfill for much longer.

It can be difficult to find softwood or hardwood alternatives.

There is now a wide variety of options on the market for cabinet materials with green choices like bamboo, UF (urea formaldehyde)-free particleboard and wheatboard. Most retailers will carry a selection.

Metal cabinets are more expensive than wood.

Not only are they sturdier and easy to recycle, metal cabinets are usually less expensive than wood. They're also easy to clean and can often be used indoors or outdoors, making them ripe for reuse.

Formaldehyde, which is used as the binding resin in some woods, is more toxic when heated.

That's why it's dangerous to install kitchen cabinets that are not UF-free or sealed with a low-toxicity sealant. Formaldehyde is considered a carcinogen by the World Health Organization and doesn't need to be in your kitchen.

Particleboard shelves are always easily recyclable.

Only particleboard that is UF-free or "exterior grade" can be recycled since the formaldehyde makes the treated wood hard to repurpose or reuse.

Wheatboard and strawboard are the same thing.

There are two names for this green alternative for your kitchen cabinets. It's a great choice because it's made from an agricultural waste product and is very resistant to moisture.

Local wood sources can be expensive and difficult to locate.

There are many options for acquiring local wood for your cabinet project. Sometimes wood is just given away from construction sites and on Craigslist, so keep your eyes peeled and search for any local sawmills in your area.

Salvaged cabinets are usually of poor quality.

Cabinets that were constructed well or made of metal can really stand the test of time, even in kitchens where they endure a lot of wear and tear. If you know what to look for in quality, you can find great salvaged cabinets at good prices through yard sales and local junk shops.

Plywood and solid wood are interchangeable.

Plywood is made from layers of wood sheets called "plies" while solid woods are thick, heavy pieces from one type of wood. Solid wood is sturdier and more durable, generally.

Only thick panels will ensure sturdy construction in cabinets.

Thick panels in drawers and shelves will greatly extend the life of cabinets since the panels have to bear so much of the weight in your kitchen.

Bamboo and softwood forests have approximately the same renewal time.

Bamboo is a terrific green choice because it only takes 3 to 5 years to reforest while softwoods take 10 to 20 years. Also, bamboo produces 35 percent more oxygen, decreasing greenhouse gasses.

Transport emissions are a major part of the pollution problem associated with milled wood.

When you buy brand-new kitchen cabinets, they have to be transported from the mill to the retailer and then to you. The trucks that carry these products give off emissions that hurt the ozone layer.

Cabinet boards can be made from sunflower hulls, sugarcane husks and recycled newspapers.

These options are all available and made from eco-friendly agricultural waste products -- products that normally would be thrown away. They are a little harder to find than wheatboard, though.

American farmers produce up to 50 million tons of straw each year.

Actually, U.S. farmers produce around 150 million tons, making strawboard a good green choice for your cabinets since it's using a byproduct of such a large industry.

"Exterior grade" materials are less toxic than others.

"Exterior grade" materials are made with PF (phenol formaldehyde) instead of UF -- PF is a less toxic form of formaldehyde and is safer and greener to use for cabinetry.

Trees cut down by arborists are usually too diseased or damaged for the wood to be reusable.

Actually, tree surgeons can be called in to take out trees struck by lightning or only partially damaged, though contagious. By using this valuable source of local and reclaimed wood for your cabinets, you're going green and not risking rotted wood.

Modular cabinets can't be customized.

Even though modular cabinets are purchased in precut (rather than custom) sizes, they offer the consumer a variety of custom finishes like paint color, style and pulls. Modular cabinets are green because they can be easily moved and reused.

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