Builders and remodelers have been environmentally conscious for years now, mostly with energy-saving exterior building products or more efficient appliances. Recycled products — those made from discarded materials — have been in and out of vogue, but several companies are looking to make them de rigueur.
Providence Artworks, maker of unique cabinet hardware, recently introduced a series of drawer pulls made from recycled wine bottle corks. The idea was the result of a design contest organized by Liz's Antique Hardware of Los Angeles. Owner Liz Gordon challenged designers to “design a piece of hardware that features a wine cork.” Brad Gavigan, Providence's president and designer, studied in-bottle wine corks and realized he'd have to come up with a way to protect the cork, which wouldn't age well under constant use. “It came to me,” he recalls. “What is the shape and material that every wine drinker is already familiar with?” Gavigan designed knobs combining wine corks with clear glass, similar to wine bottles. The “Long-neck Joe” knob won the contest and will appear on LAH's Web site ( www.lahardware.com) soon.
“Tradespeople are starting to realize that recycled products are not just pie in the sky,” says Erika Reckling of ShetkaStone. “The tide is turning. Recycled products can be affordable, and [there is] a good selection.” Reckling touts the benefits of recycled products for good reason: ShetkaStone's countertop and tabletop products are made entirely from pre- and post-consumer waste paper — including waxed and glossy paper, as well as magazines, telephone books, and plant or cloth fibers. Inventor Stanley Shetka started a company called All Paper Recycling about 10 years ago. With sustainability as a goal, Shetka began looking at ways to reuse waste products. As Reckling puts it, the company “rescues stuff from the landfill, turning it into usable and beautiful products.” The ShetkaStone product is made by turning waste paper into slurry, which is then formed and hardened into 36-inch-square tables or countertops. Density, strength, and thickness are controlled during the process. Shetka-Stone can be sawed, nailed, glued, sanded, and screwed together, and finished with any wood or stone sealant. “It can be a substitute for pretty much any stone, wood, or plastic product,” asserts Reckling. “It's the feel-good product of the year. You know you're doing something good.”
For more product information, visit ebuild, Hanley Wood's interactive product catalog, www.ebuild.com.