The benchtop materials you choose are very important for your home; these surfaces need to be solid and hygienic so they're safe for food prep, but of course you also want them to be attractive and to enhance the look of your kitchen space. Replacing benchtops can be pricey, so it's good to consider all of your options when you're ready to have new ones installed. Note a few unique benchtop ideas you may want to consider for your home, and then discuss these with a contractor as needed.
Glass benchtops are hygienic for food prep, since glass is very dense, is a poor host to germs and bacteria and is easy to clean. Glass is also not likely to get damaged by bleach cleansers that are commonly used in the kitchen or by knives, scouring pads and the like. Glass also withstands fires, so it won't get damaged and won't feed the flames if a fire should break out in the kitchen.
Metal benchtops are also very hygienic, as the material is easy to clean and won't hold germs and bacteria. Metal is also easy to fabricate, so it can often be installed right over your old benchtops, making for a faster and easier installation job. Metal also resists flames and fire, but note that it may show burn marks if you were to put a hot pan directly on the surface, so you'll need to use some caution in this regard if you choose metal.
Cellulose, or pressed paper, is actually a very dense material that works well for benchtops. The paper is reclaimed or recycled, so it's eco-friendly, and the material can be painted or stained for a unique look or finish.
Cork is a very soft and spongy wood that is eco-friendly, as it's sustainable and easy to re-grow. If you want the look of wood benchtops but don't like the idea of cutting down trees for home materials, opt for cork instead.
Another eco-friendly option for a benchtop is a mosaic tile benchtop. You can collect reclaimed tile from other projects or buy these from a supplier and break them into smaller pieces that can then be used to create a mosaic. A tile mosaic can be set out in a certain pattern or design, or the tile can be set randomly for maximum visual interest. Many homeowners can even tackle this project on their own, since you don't need to worry about lining up random mosaic pieces in a precise row, and this can save on the cost of an installer.