Be green in the kitchen

Be green in the kitchen

Design is important with kitchenware, but you can have products that are eco-friendly and ethically produced, as well as lovely to look at and a joy to use.

T&G salt & pepper pots

T&G hevea wood Capstan pepper grinder (£33.99) with a red gloss finish makes a striking centrepiece for any table. Made in Taiwan using wood from sustainable forests. T&G chopping boards are made from FSC beech, European oak, hevea and acacia woods. Buy online at Steamer Trading.

Wooden chopping boards have been a mainstay of kitchens down through the centuries and they more than pass muster on eco grounds, as long as the wood come from sustainable forests.

But many of us are dubious about the plastic, melamine and silicone products that have come to dominate the kitchenware market, and it's not always clear which brands put environmental concerns at the top of their agenda. We've been looking at some which do:

GreenPan™

While there's no scientific evidence that human health is endangered by the non-stick pans that have been in use since the 1940s, some people prefer pans that aren't coated with the substance PTFE, which uses a man-made chemical PFOA, a known pollutant, in its manufacture. This is because of the potential for noxious fumes to be released should a non-stick pan overheat.
 
GreenPan™ is a Belgian company launched nearly a decade ago that doesn't use PTFE or any PFOA, rather it developed a ceramic mineral non-stick coating, Thermolon™, which is adhered to an aluminium base. Greenpan's products are popular because there is no risk of fumes should pans get too hot, and they are also cadmium and lead-free. The company asserts that the Thermolon™ production process results in 60 per cent less CO2 emissions than during the manufacture of traditional non-stick pans. 
 
GreenPan uses its ceramic Thermolon coating to make pans non-stick. Available from www.steamer.co.uk
US brand Green Street makes utensils from recycled post-consumer plastic water bottles. www.greenstreethome.com
Earthchef by BergHOFF, a Belgian company, is a brand of pans that has a ceramic non-stick coating. PFOA-free. www.berghoffworldwide.com
Eco placemats (£24.95 for 4) and coasters are made from recycled paper packaging. www.ashortwalk.com
Chef Michel Roux has teamed up with GreenPan
Kyoto frying pans by GreenPan from www.steamer.co.uk
Small condiment sets from T&G at www.steamer.co.uk, prices from £13.99
Grooved Eco breadboard is made from recycled paper. Available in the UK at £34.95 from www.ashortwalk.com
GreenPan also uses recycled materials in its cookware, such as stainless steel and aluminium, and the resulting pans are great. Don’t take our word for it - chef Michel Roux has developed a high-end range with GreenPan™.  The company's products are available at Steamer Trading.
 
Note, on the whole, aluminium pans won't work on induction hobs. Check packaging to be sure any product you buy is suitable for your hob
 
T&G Woodware
 
If you love wooden tools and accessories, take a look at Bristol-based T&G’s range. Products are manufactured from sustainable forests and the company has been FSC®-certified since 1999. It’s also a founder member of the World Wildlife Federation 95+ Group; a group of wood buyers committed to purchasing credibly-certified wood and wood materials.
 
We love the quality ‘Capstan’ salt and pepper mills; they’re made from hevea wood from trees that are replanted every two to three decades, and felled only once they’re unable to produce enough latex for rubber.
 
Ashortwalk
 
Cornwall-based Ashortwalk makes useful products from post consumer recycled materials including plastic plant pots. It's recently started selling kitchenwares made in the US from recycled paper packaging, called its Eco range. Products include place mats and coasters.
 
Naturals porcelain and bamboo cups and saucers by Ecology
Acacia-wood bowls with recyclable plastic interior by Australian brand Ecology
Epicurean wood fibre grooved bread boards catch crumbs and help keep work surfaces tidy. £54.95 from www.steamer.co.uk
Epicurean cutting boards are made in the US from wood fibre and food-safe resin.
Epicurean recycled plastic chopping board
Earthchef by BergHOFF bamboo chopping boards. www.berghoffworldwide.com
Set of Earthchef by BergHOFF ceramic coated non-stick pans
Earthchef bamboo utensils
Nest of ceramic containers with bamboo lids by Australian brand Ecology, on sale at divertimenti and John Lewis
The Ecology brand is proving an international success
Epicurean
 
US brand Epicurean® is perhaps best known for its innovative, practical, stylish cutting boards; we particularly like their bread boards that have grooves built-in to catch bread crumbs and stop them spilling onto tables or worktops.  
 
The Minnesota-based company strives to be eco-friendly, and uses FSC®-certified wood and wood fibre for its products. It's also introduced a new range of chopping boards in a variety of bright colours made from post-consumer recycled plastic milk cartons, and its products are recyclable. 
 
As a company, Epicurean takes environmental issues seriously, for example, it's enrolled in WindSense, a program that helps power companies tin Minnesota to develop renewable energy.
Another initiative embraced by Epicurean is GREENGUARD, the independent, third-party testing program for low-emitting products and materials. It gives assurance that products designed for use in indoor spaces meet strict chemical emissions limits.  Find Epicurean at UK online retailers including Steamer Trading.  
 
Ecology
 
Ecology’s range of ergonomic and eco-friendly kitchenware is fast becoming a worldwide success.  This affordable, contemporary brand is part of Australian company CWM Homeswares, and its USP has been to manufacture in as environmentally-friendly ways as possible.
 
So it uses fast-growing bamboo and acacia wood from managed forests; it uses recycled glass for its stemware, which is made in Europe, and recycled stainless steel. It's minimalist white ceramic products are made in factories that are state-of-the-art in terms of minimising CO2 emissions and having closed loop water and heat re-use. Packaging is made from recycled cardboard. 
 
Ecology products are very attractive and white ceramic was chosen so they will suit any kitchen's colour scheme. Products are widely available in the US and Europe, as well as Australia, and you can buy in the UK at John Lewis and Divertimenti.
 
EarthChef by BergHOFF
 
Developed by Belgian manufacturer BergHOFF for the Canadian market, EarthChef offers ceramic coated non-stick pans which are 100 per cent free of PTFE and PFOA. Kitchenwares are made from sustainable bamboo, and packaging is made from recycled materials. Modern styling and ergonomic design makes these products great to use.
 
For information on where to buy in the UK and EU, visit the company's website.
 
Silicone bakeware
 
Silicone kitchen utensils came onto the market in the 1980s and have become hugely popular. They're colourful, flexible, lightweight, durable and able to withstand extremes of temperature. Brands include KitchenAid (available at redcandy.co.uk) and Colourworks (hartsofstur.com)
 
But you may wonder about the material's eco-friendliness. Well, the answer is this synthetic rubber scores quite highly, as it's derived from silicon, which itself is made from silica, ie, sand, which is abundant. Very high temperatures are needed to make silicone rubber, but once the material is made, it's inert and won't degrade. (That said, cheaper products often contain filler materials than can mean bits of the rubber may flake off and you obviously wouldn't want these fragments getting into food.)
 
On the down side, silicone won't biodegrade, so it should be kept out of landfill, but it can be recycled.
 
For restaurant and kitchen equipment, visit Katom
 
 
 
 
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