Like any other trend and fashion, how we look at the kitchen and what we want in it changes over time. Each change is greatly influenced by other factors in the age, the ornate for the periodic and minimalistic for the modern.

Few trends show a bold and drastic move away from the current times like what the Shakers had done more than two centuries ago, but we do have certain instances in history where avant-garde thought processes have paved the way for dramatic changes. Surprisingly, the age best known for drama has shown remarkable restraint. The latest kitchen trends show a strong affinity for the simple and the earthy.

The 2013 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) displayed a distinct flair or trend in how the future kitchens are going to be — earth-friendly. With the growing green consciousness, it is no surprise that there will be increased instances of environment-friendly products used in construction and interiors.

The earth-friendliness in new kitchen trends, however, shows as much concern for the environment as it does for the safety and health of the user. The focus on providing a safe and healthy option for making meals is quite deep and promises to develop further into a full-fledged area of specialization.

First come the sustainable countertops, which are made out of recycled products or from renewable sources. One can actually get a whole range of choices for a green kitchen starting from the Squak Mountain Stone, which is made from recycled paper and glass (again recycled), cement and reclaimed fly ash that looks like natural limestone and soapstone when finished. Then there are the Vetrazzo countertops that are made from 85 percent recycled glass that comes from curbside recycling programs.

One can add Teragren's food-safe bamboo parquet butcher block to these eco-friendly countertops, which are formaldehyde-free, available in natural or more caramelized shades. The countertops from Craft-Art are made from reclaimed wood, which they get from older barns, commercial buildings and even warehouses. More options are available in post-consumer recycled paper, renewable bamboo fiber all fitted with water-based resin glue and low-toxicity binders, and made with eco-friendly manufacturing processes.

Using renewable and recycled products for home and interiors is a massive contribution to save the planet, and we can all do our individual bits to help. The added bonus is that with the use of greener products, we also create a healthier eating and cooking environment. The use of water-based adhesives, low-emitting particleboard core and indoor air quality-certified laminates paves the way for a safer work surface. The use of low volatile organic compounds makes sure minimal or zero toxic fumes are released inside the house from now on.

The green trend also reaches back to time-tested traditions to bring home healthier kitchen options. One such option is the use of the copper sink, which has natural antibacterial properties. Then there are the kitchen cabinets made of wheat board or straw board, basically derived from agricultural waste like chaff. Eco-friendly flooring made of linoleum and cork emits no harmful fumes and makes the kitchen a truly healthy place.

Contrary to common belief eco-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, so it is time to explore more options and make a greener kitchen if you are planning a renovation or new construction in near future.