By Katie Pohlman
Pieces of glass, cork and used drink cartons aren’t items you usually associate with countertops, flooring and ceiling tiles, but Elements of Green specializes in bringing these sustainable, recycled materials to beautifully crafted building products.
Browse the store to find samples of countertops made of out seashells and recycled glass, flooring from bamboo and cork, and paint containing zero volatile organic compounds (VOC). Customers will also find ReWall, a building product from Des Moines, IA that uses recycled drink cartons to make plywood and ceiling tiles.
Gerould Sabin opened Elements of Green in the Crossroads with his wife Martha in 2008 out of a shared passion for remodeling and sustainability. They had previous experience buying, fixing up and selling houses using environmentally friendly surfaces. With the store, they wanted to make it easier for customers to find and access sustainable building materials.
Sabin had worked with recycled-glass countertop manufacturers before opening Elements of Green, and that experience introduced him to multiple possibilities. At Elements of Green, customers can find a large selection of glass colors and coarseness for custom-made recycled countertops from Ripple Glass, a local glass recycler.
“When I started with the recycled-glass countertops (industry), I realized there’s a whole other world out there that I didn’t know about,” he said. “I have a background in construction that’s been an interest for me, and I have a passion for the environment. When you add these things all up, this really makes sense.”
Everything in Elements of Green is either made by companies with some amount of sustainable materials, or made by a company that has very green business practices, Sabin said. He stocks both types of products to give customers options.
“There is no perfect green product,” he said. “Every product has its green qualities and values. We try to educate the customer about what the product is and how it’s made, or what will work best for their uses.”
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