An expensive item to compress, the recycling of scrap aluminum is sometimes considered more trouble than its worth. Luckily, there’s a recycled surface material called Alkemi that saves the fine aluminum milling scrap that often graces local landfills, using that industrial aluminum scrap for beautifully-crafted countertops. The product’s creators from Renewed Materials say that Alkemi also decreases the “heavy smoke pollutant” that comes from conventional aluminum recycling. But Alkemi isn’t known for mere durability and environmental friendliness. The finished product is also attractive. Alkemi countertops, for example, are already being noticed for the striking shine that appears when light catches pieces of aluminum scrap.
Architype Review recently recognized this SCS-certified product, which has received LEED credits, as an important sustainable solution for the home and office. One of my favorite “green” sites, TreeHugger, explains: “Demir Hamami of Renewed Materials tells us that flake aluminum milling scrap burns before it melts, and has to be expensively compressed before it can be recycled, so it usually goes into landfills. Hamami casts it into a solid surface material that can replace conventional counter materials with an unusual appearance and high recycled content (35% by weight, 60% by volume).”
For more information, the TreeHugger article has quality reporting and includes pictures from the recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which was part of Design Week in New York. In addition, the Alkemi site and a YouTube video further demonstrate the process. And if you want to look around for the best deals, Alkemi isn’t the only eco-friendly source for countertops. There are several other interesting options that are just as “green” and just as pristine.