TODAY'S GREEN MANTRA: I shall shun from my
kitchen anything which should try to harm me or my kin
Day 60 / 365
Since yesterday's post on the health harms of Teflon and replacing your cookware with cast iron was a long one, I thought I'd shorten this one up
I remember when I moved into my first apartment at 18, I was overwhelmed with all the things I had to buy. Luckily, I had spent the summer doing extra's castingfor a t.v show so I had a little bit more cash than I usually did, but with the university year looming and student loans not yet confirmed, I cut corners wherever I could and got some sort of 'kitchen' package from the likes of Walmart or one of their other bad buddies to sort myself out entirely in one go.
|[BOMISCH] brass tip sheesham utensils|
This was a mistake. My interest in eco clothing had only just peaked at this time and I never would have imagined that a company would sell me something that would cause me health harms. For my ignorance, my mother soon informed me that everything in my kitchen we made terribly without so much as a wink in the earths direction or consideration for my health.
Sure enough, it wasn't long before nearly all my cooking utensils had melted into unrecognizable shapes and my pan had started flaking off Teflon, and I found myself at some super store again buying some all-in-one stainless steel upgrade that I'm not sure was much better.
Like everything we use, our kitchen utensils cause harm to the planet in their creation and eventual landfill grave. And like everything we use, we have to be thoughtful about the choices we make when we vote with our dollar through our purchases. On top of this responsibility, we need to educate ourselves on items in our home which are causing us horrid health harms and from your soaps, and facewash, to your pots and pans.
[WHAT TO GET RID OF]
PLASTIC production causes major harm to our environment, it is man made with petroleum derivatives and once in existence consists completely of chemicals and toxins which cause harm to your health (especially when heated up) and never biodegrades meaning it ends up in our waterways and landfills killing wildlife and eventually being ingested by us. Even when plastic is recycled it releases fumes and gasses which harm our atmosphere and taintour water. You'd do yourself a favour by cessating yourself from all plastic goods in and out of the kitchen, especially when it comes to your children. There's a great blog called My Plastic Free Life which documents one woman's separation from our plastic world.
|[Food52] Antique Pewter Serving Spoon|
SILICON became hugely popular around the time I moved into my first apartment along with Teflon pans. They were cool looking, didn't stick and came in a plethora of colours, but like Teflon used to be, silicon is still marked as safe. As it is a man made material which doesn't biodegrade, I can't recommend it and I think due to the recent uncoverings of Teflon's harms, I would air on the side of caution and avoid using or purchasing products made with silicon. If heated at a high heat silicon can cause harm to your lungs as mentioned in this EWC article here. See what environmentalist David Suzuki thinks of Silicon here.
TEFLON is a definite no. As we discussed yesterday, Teflon cooking tools are coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE) which releases toxic fumes when exposed to excessive heat and causes health harms to any living thing in the vicinity. This means when you cook, you are causing harm to your kids, your pets and you. I think it is worth reading my article on Teflon here, or visiting EWG here as even the chemicals I wrote about yesterday don't fully cover the health harms of Teflon.
[WHAT TO BUY INSTEAD]
BAMBOO to me is the greatest green alternative. It is the fastest growing plant in the world (24 inches in 24hrs!) which enables frequent and sustainable harvesting without causing damage to the ecosystem of bamboo forests. It grows abundantly, without pesticides and is watered naturally by mountain rain. It produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees, combating global warming with each bamboo shoot planted. Because it is from the earth it can return to the earth and adds benefits rather than harms when it does.
WOOD my mum always had wood utensils and I think as long as the wood is made from sustainable sources, they're ok to buy. They certiantly won't try to kill you and can return to the earth once they've lived their long lives. BUT, they do get full of bacteria after some god usage. I would consider the alternative of bamboo as I don't really see the point of buying wood which is less sustainable? As William McDonough so rightly states in his epic TED talk: "if you look at a tree and think of it as a design assignment, it would be like asking you to make something that makes oxygen, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, provides habitat for hundreds of species, accrues solar energy's fuels, makes complex sugars and food, changes colours with the seasons, creates microclimates, and self-replicates ... but by all means ... lets cut it down so we can write on it". So I'll give you some FSC certified options, specifically from Mango and Sheesham wood which are a sustainably sourced timbers, long lasting and can return to the earth after use.
STAINLESS STEEL is made from a mixture of several metals including nickel, chromium and molybdenum which could potentially find itself into your food but is most likely just fine. Stainless steel is recommended by chefs as their number one choice for kitchen utensils, and they'll likely last a lifetime if you purchase them properly.