Begin your affordable eco-kitchen odyssey with a selection of contemporary recycled glassware courtesy of Luigi Bormioli. Founded in Parma, Italy, in 1946, the family run business today is one of Italy’s most prominent glassmakers, and the company’s Green collection will lend your table an air of sophisticated Italian eco-chic. Purchase a set of 13-ounce tumblers, 18-ounce beverage glasses or 20-ounce goblets ($17.99 for a 4-set). An 84-ounce pitcher is also just $17.99, as is a three-section serving dish and a two-bowl chip and dip set. You can find the entire recycled glassware collection at Target.
Eco-retailer Green Feet can set you up with recycled glass drinking glasses ($2.75 each), mugs ($3.95 each), and tumblers ($4.95 each) as well as tapered vases and candle holders (both $4.95). Don’t forget to pick up elegant recycled glass bowls and plates for about $8 each. Bluehouse, a Baltimore-based green design store, features La Mediterranea, a collection of modern recycled glassware imported from Spain. Oenophiles as well as casual wine fans will appreciate the slouchy, asymmetrical decanter for $30. Pair it with the round-mouthed tumblers ($4 each) to achieve a contemporary tapas-bar vibe. Crank up the flamenco music, and you’ll be all set.
Other recycled materials can help you set a cost-friendly yet colorful tabletop. The Preserve collection of tableware features dishwasher-safe, 100 percent recycled plastic plates, 16-ounce cups, and cutlery available in vibrant red, green and blue hues. Most of the recycled plastic starts its life as either Stonyfield yogurt cups or Brita water pitcher filters before being transformed into affordable tableware. Pick up an eight-pack of large plates for $7. A 10-pack of cups sells for $5.99. And a 24-count canister of knives, forks and spoons is available for $5.50. Preserve also offers cutting boards made of Paperstone, a hard, durable surface created from 100 percent recycled paper. In 2008, the collection expanded to include bright, colorful colanders, cutting boards and food storage containers made from recycled plastic.
To dress your dining table, turn to Mio Culture, a dynamic, Philadelphia, Penn.–based eco-design firm. The company’s Haute Surface Sets ($19.99 each) are made of rapidly renewable cork pieces that can be configured as place mats, protective surfaces for hot serving dishes or table runners. Each set consists of 12 pieces — six tan and six chocolate — and resemble jigsaw puzzle pieces that can be assembled however you choose.
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Excerpted from Josh's latest book, "The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget."