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EARTH FRIENDLY FLATWARE

The considerations when making the decision on what to buy and where it comes from Flatware, or silverware as many prefer to call it, is a product that is intended to last a lifetime. By making the right choice in terms of quality, design and durability your flatware can actually be handed down from generation to generation, something known in the industry as “heirloom quality”. Great news for mother earth as it is not a “throw away culture” product. But there is much more.

Modern flatware is made from stainless steel. Recycling is a major part of the stainless steel industry. In fact, approximately 85% of each melt of stainless steel is based on recycled steel! The next most important component in steel manufacturing is energy. Where that steel is made is critical as you know. Some countries like the United States, Germany, France and Japan, the developed nations, have highly regulated environmental standards in the energy sector, while others like China, India and other Asian countries do not.

Lastly, steel mills in the developed world follow much more stringent standards when it comes to manufacturing than those in the developed world. All important environmental considerations to take into account that are easily identified by the country of origin of the products you buy, including flatware. The next consideration is the environmental impact of shipping, the supply chain. A product produced here in the United States might travel a distance of 1,370 miles from factory to your door, while a product coming from Asia will travel over 8,200 miles to reach you. With CO2 emissions from international shipping accounting for more than 6% of total global emissions this has become a huge issue.

Manufacturing practices also have a major impact on mother earth. Many factories still use chemicals such as trichloroethylene (TCE) to clean metal products. In fact this is common in the flatware industry in Asia. Other manufacturers, mostly in the developed countries, do not use these hazardous chemicals as they represent a grave threat to our environment. Use of these chemicals not only impacts the environment it also can impact your health. This is why it is always recommended that you thoroughly wash any flatware that you purchase, particularly if it comes from a region that still uses these harsh carcinogenic chemicals. Other manufacturing practices that impact our environment include: un-filtered emissions from the buffing process that cause not only air pollution but are also hazardous to employees and the surrounding community and general industrial waste disposal, an area that can be regulated and earth friendly, or not.

Purchasing products that last has a long lasting positive impact on our environment, silverware can certainly fit that category. As mentioned earlier high quality flatware made from 18-10 stainless steel should last a lifetime or longer. Today’s flatware is almost always dishwasher safe meaning that it can be used every day. By purchasing a nice pattern with thicker more sturdy construction you can also be proud of the table you will set for special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter etc… This will help avoid having multiple sets which can double or triple the “stuff” you need in your household.

As we all know, globalization and the shift of manufacturing from developed “clean countries” to less earth friendly regions of the world has had a major impact on our planets environment, particularly as it related to climate change. By purchasing products that are produced in the most earth friendly manufacturing regions, buying products that are made with recycled materials and insisting on products that are built to last we can all do our part to protect our planet. Every little bit helps!

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Written by: Liberty Tabletop


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