Below I have outlined some important aspects of cabinetry to consider when purchasing non-toxic and sustainable cabinets.
1. Let's take a look at what is inside your cabinets. The "box" is usually made from plywood or pressboard which are glued together, most often with glue that contains formaldehyde. Instead look for the box to be made with formaldehyde-free plywood, FSC certified solid wood or wheat board. Any adhesives should be low VOC.
2. Options for the face of your cabinets can be FSC certified wood, reclaimed wood, metal, bamboo, or other architectural panel such as Kirei board.
3. Finishes: Paints and/or stain and hardware. Choose a low or no VOC finish. Hardware such as handles, knobs etc can be recycled or made from recycled material.
4. Lastly, think of distribution. Ideally you don't want to ship your cabinets from California to New York. Keep production as close to home as you can.
What should you do if its too late. You can't replace your cabinetry for budgetary reasons or just installed cabinetry . Not to worry, all is not lost! A solution is to remove the face of your cabinets and thoroughly cover the cabinet boxes with a no VOC water based sealant. If purchasing a sealant, it is highly recommended that you make sure to completely cover every square inch of surface as well as all cracks to prevent further outgassing, otherwise it will continue to contribute to outgassing.
So what's the most important aspect of your green renovation project?