Eco-Friendly PaperStone Countertops Are Hard To Beat

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paperstone-countertops.jpg PaperStone countertops are one of the few eco-friendly, sustainable paper countertops on the market today. It is similar to Richlite, ShektaStone and EcoTop in many ways.

What sets PaperStone apart from competing paper countertops is the type of phenolic resin used during the manufacturing process. First and foremost, their resin is non-petroleum based. They have their own laboratory and manufacturing plant to produce a cashew nut shell liquid-based (CNSL) resin.

Believe it or not, CNSL has many different uses (more) besides being used as a binder for organic phenolic resin.

PaperStone seems to have a lot going for it.

  • Sustainable composite made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper
  • Made using non-petroleum based phenolic resins
  • VOC-free (Volatile Organic Compounds)
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • Emits no radon gases
  • Certified food-safe by NSF
  • Extremely rigid and dense so it can span up to 18″ as an unsupported overhang with ¾” thickness countertops.
  • Certified by the Smartwood program of the Rainforest Alliance of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for using 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
  • Enables a home building project to obtain up to 5 LEED points for certification, depending on which type is used.
  • Experienced woodworkers with carbide-tipped woodworking tools may install it themselves.
  • Virtually non-porous
  • Stain resistant
  • Scratches can be repaired with a Scotch-Brite pad and treated with a hardwood finishing product.
  • Heat resistant to 350°F.
  • Class A fire and smoke rating

Did I leave anything out? If I did, I’ll go back and add it in upon discovery.


How Are Paperstone Countertops Made?

PaperStone’s parent company, Paneltech International, LLC, collects the FSC-certified post-consumer recycled paper from Grays Harbor Paper.

There are three (3) grades of recycled paper used:

  • Original PaperStone contains 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard.
  • PaperStone Certified is made from 100% recycled standard office paper.
  • PaperStone made from virgin fiber.

All three end products are virtually identical. The only real difference is the level and type of recycled content, with the exception of the virgin fiber version. It would be interesting to know what percentage of each version they sell.

The post-consumer recycled paper is saturated with their proprietary phenolic resin formula for strength and durability. Natural pigments are also added for color.

The sheets are pressed together under extreme pressure and heat to bind the fibers together for rigidity. It is then cured for a period of time. Paper sheet count determines the thickness of the final product.
How Eco-Friendly Are PaperStone Countertops?

Here are a few interesting facts I snagged from their website:


“Data obtained by using an EPA energy use/savings calculator.” – source

How Do PaperStone Countertops Look and Feel?

PaperStone comes in 9 earth-tone colors. It feels “warm” like wood, and it wears over time like wood. Enough said.

It comes in 4 standard panel sizes:

  • 5′ x 12′
  • 5′ x 10′
  • 5′ x 8′

It also comes in varying thicknesses:

¼” – 1 ¼”

Pick the thickness for your particular project that suits it best. You, or your contractor, can basically work with PaperStone in a very similar manner to wood. It is also a very cost-effective material that costs much less than granite.

photo via Paperstone


DIY Installation FAQ

DIY Paperstone from top-to-bottom FAQ

Paperstone LEED Certification Information

“Data obtained using an EPA energy use/savings calculator shows that a 1″ x 5’ x 12’ (2.54 x 152.4 x 366 cm) PaperStone panel versus a traditional phenolic composite manufactured from virgin fiber and a commercially available resin saves:”

  • 1,233 (4,667.4 liters) gallons of water
  • 2.03 million BTU’s of energy
  • 131 pounds (59.4 kg) of solid waste
  • 254 pounds (115.2 kg) of greenhouse gases
  • 55 pounds (25 kg) of petroleum-based phenolena