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Product Guide

Sourcing Healthy Cabinets

A guide for designers, builders, and homeowners looking for cabinets that are good for people and planet

Cabinets represent the largest kitchen component. Health-adverse elements in cupboards can come with lower-grade boxes made with off-gassing glues and binders. Unless your cabinets are custom fabricated, you will have little control over the particleboard or plywood used. Some brands use finishes with low to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Cabinets represent the largest kitchen component. Health-adverse elements in cupboards can come with lower-grade boxes made with off-gassing glues and binders. Unless your cabinets are custom fabricated, you will have little control over the particleboard or plywood used. Some brands use finishes with low to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The Bellmont Cabinet Company offers a 3/4-in. birch, 11-ply plywood with a UV-cured clear topcoat, and Eco-Core, maple melamine bonded to 3/4-in. particleboard that contains no-added formaldehyde and Forest Steward Council (FSC)-certified mixed-content wood particles. Bellmont is a certified member of the Environmental Stewardship Program, which is administered by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association. The company’s website has a link to a list of distributors, and you can also find their cabinets at the Factory Builder Stores.

Corner swing-out base cabinet
Bellmont offers 60 door styles and many storage solutions with its 1900 Series, dubbed “endless styles and options.” Among the options, cabinet surfaces are made with anti-bacterial properties that attract microbes and block their cell reproduction to prevent mold growth. Image from manufacturer’s gallery.

Bellmont offers 60 door styles and many storage solutions with its 1900 Series, dubbed “endless styles and options.” Among the options, cabinet surfaces are made with anti-bacterial properties that attract microbes and block their cell reproduction to prevent mold growth. Image from manufacturer’s gallery.

Certification seal
For a straightforward way to identify green cabinetry, look for the KCMA ESP Seal, the certification of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP). Since 2006, the ESP certification has been based on compliance in five categories: air quality and pollution prevention, resource sustainability, waste minimization, environmental stewardship, and community relations. This is the only environmental certification program that specifically focuses on kitchen and bath cabinets. Image courtesy KCMA.

For a straightforward way to identify green cabinetry, look for the KCMA ESP Seal, the…

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2 Comments

  1. Robert Opaluch | | #1

    Another alternative is to build your own cabinets. You choose the materials and finishes. Granted this option isn't for most people, as it requires time, tools, some knowledge and experience, and an interest in woodworking.

    Maybe getting used cabinets, and likely refinishing them, might be another option. Perhaps much of the VOCs have sense gassed off?? Habitat for Humanity resells good quality used items.

    1. Fernando Pages | | #2

      I like your thinking.

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