What is Enamel?
In regards to Enamel Cookware, Enamel Tableware and other related items, Vitreous Enamel, otherwise known as Porcelain Enamel is used as an outer coating on utensils that are typically made from Cast Iron or Steel. Vitreous Enamel is made by melting powdered glass to another material (such as Cast Iron), usually metal, stone or ceramics or glass. It can be used as a coating on just about anything that can handle the extremely high temperatures during the manufacturing process.
Items are coated in Enamel for a range of reasons. For cookware, it creates a semi-nonstick coating and stops materials such as Cast Iron or Steel from changing the flavour of food due to the materials leaching. An Enamel coating also makes items much easier to clean and it’s good at conducting heat. Other than the cleaning and cooking benefits, Enamel can also look great and is used for design and aesthetic purposes, where a plain material can be given a beautiful finish in almost any colour.
Is Enamel eco friendly?
Enamel is eco friendly, mainly due to its durability and extremely long lifespan.
Materials that have an Enamel coating and that are manufactured well can easily last decades and be passed down through generations, reducing waste that ends up in landfill. Enamel also doesn’t impact the recyclability of the material that it’s applied to.
During the manufacturing process of coating some materials in Enamel, toxic fumes can be generated, although in the case of Cast Iron or Steel (which is used as the source or base material for most camping cookware and tableware items), no Perfluoroalkyl chemicals are used. An Enamel coating also stops other toxic fumes from being generated while cooking, rather than if you had the source material put straight on the flame.”
Are Bamboo Products Sustainable?
Bamboo can grow up to 120 cms per day, making it one of the fastest growing plants in the world. It’s regarded as a ‘super plant’ and possibly the most renewable material on the planet, at least one of the quickest to renew/regrow. In 3-5 years, Bamboo can be fully grown, which is only about 10% of the time that it takes for many Hardwood trees to become ready for harvesting, to then make some similar products that can be made from both materials, such as tableware, toothbrushes and many other accessories.
When harvesting Bamboo, the plant just needs to be cut off near the ground level and then it’ll quickly regenerate with no need to tear up the roots and replace it with a new plant. Other than Bamboo growing super fast, it can also be great for the soil that it grows in as it nourishes it and reduces erosion, furthermore, when comparing Bamboo with similar plants, it produces over a third more Oxygen and absorbs around five times more Carbon Dioxide.
Bamboo is non-toxic, can grow in almost any soil or clay type and with its very small roots, often between 30-50 cms, it uses very little water, especially when compared to growing Cotton. Growing Bamboo also requires minimal maintenance and no herbicides or pesticides.
Growing, harvesting and regrowing Bamboo is extremely sustainable, then the material itself is extremely strong and durable. Bamboo is tougher than any Hardwood and when comparing its tensile strength to Steel, which is 23,000 PSI, Bamboo outperforms it and is stronger with 28,000 PSI.
Manufacturing Bamboo accessories, such as cutlery or dinner plates is quite simple and doesn’t require a harsh process or harmful chemicals, which further increases the sustainability of Bamboo products. Although Bamboo products available at WAY&FARER are mainly produced with no or low amounts of chemicals, some manufactures do still use harsh chemicals, so not all Bamboo accessories are processed in and eco-friendly way. Another thing to keep in mind is that clothing and fabrics made from Bamboo can go through a process with lots of chemicals and produce toxic fumes, so it’s best to research how each particular manufacturer process Bamboo when you’re looking at fabric.
When Bamboo isn’t manufactured using a chemical process, it’s completely recyclable and 100% biodegradable.
What is Cast Iron?
Cast Iron refers to products that have been made from melting and pouring Iron into a mould and then letting it sit and solidify. It has a relatively low melting point, which makes it quite easy to work with and produce all sorts of heavy-duty items that should last a lifetime. With Iron being one of the key materials in Steel, if there are any manufacturing faults during the process of making the Cast Iron products, the entire item can then easily be recycled and doesn’t go to waste. As there’s no outer coating that prevents leaching, such as the Stainless finish on Stainless Steel or Enamel coated items with a Cast Iron base, tiny bits of Iron will break off into your food or drinks, which is considered healthy as the Iron is good for your body.
Cast Iron cookware is easy to cook with as it can be placed straight on or in flames, such as a stove or camp fire, then it heats up fast and is naturally non-stick.
Are Cast Iron products eco friendly?
Cast Iron products are considered to be very eco-friendly due to their extremely long lifespan, next-to-no/low maintenance and it’s ability to easily be completely recycled.
The process of mining the Iron can take a lot of energy and other resources, which isn’t ideal, although once mined, it’s easy to then mould the Iron and create Cast Iron products that will either be passed down for many generations or recycled into a Steel product. Iron products are easier to work with and machine than Steel. Once the Iron is out of the ground, everything from there-on-out has a much lower impact on the environment and becomes more sustainable every year that it’s still be used. It’s a brilliant alternative to many other products that start to break within years and create a need for another product to be manufactured for a replacement.
Is Stainless Steel sustainable?
Stainless Steel is incredibly durable and 100% recyclable, making it very friendly to the environment.
Scrap metal is used as the main raw material to produce Stainless Steel.
Products made from Stainless Steel are easily and often recycled, although even if they are not disposed of correctly and don’t end up in Landfill, Stainless Steel still won’t have a harmful impact on the soil or water that it touches due to corrosion-free layer around the steel, which further increases the sustainability and eco friendliness of Stainless Steel.
Due to the stainless finish, toxins are not released when Stainless Steel products come into contact with other elements, like food when cooking, water when using a Stainless Steel drink bottle or toxins running-off the product and into the environment when using outdoor gear, such as tent pegs.
Producing new Stainless Steel items from non-recycled materials does require the mining of resources from the ground and then putting them through a heavy industrial process. Over the last 70 years or so, the process of manufacturing Stainless Steel has had a steady and impressive reduction in the energy required and harmful toxins released during the process. Now, it’s estimated that about 80% of all Stainless Steel that’s produced is from about 70% recycled materials, which heavily further reduces the harm from the manufacturing process.
Stainless Steel as a material is very eco-friendly due to it’s ability to be recycled, no toxic run-offs, it’s anti-corrosion properties and extreme durability.
Rice Husk tableware is produced from natural, plant based materials. They’re manufactured by using the outer coating of Rice grains, known as Rice Hulls or Rice Husk, that are usually discarded during during the manufacturing process Rice based products.
While processing White Rice, each milled kilogram produces about 220-280 grams of Rice Husk as a byproduct. The Rice Husks are used in a few ways, mainly as a fuel but they can be turned into pallets or made into an ash and powder that can then be used to create products, such as camping plates, bowls, cups, cutlery and other camping dinnerware items, which is quite a new way of using the material that often largely wasted.
Rice Husk Ash otherwise known as Rice Husk Powder is put through a non-toxic process where other binding ingredients are added, including Cellulose, Starch, Water and Nano-silica. A highly durable and dense material is created that’s ideal for making cups, plates, bowls and dinnerware items as it’s reusable, biodegradable within 2 – 3 years, can withstand temperature between -30°C to 120°C, Microwave safe and Dishwasher safe. Added to it’s eco friendliness, Rice Husk plates are also free from both BPA and Melamine.
Rice Husk Plates are manufactured using a relatively low amount of resources, energy and process is non-toxic. The reduction in waste, sustainable manufacturing process, durability, practicality and the ability to completely biodegrade is why Rice Husk Plates and other tableware are considered to be very eco friendly and sustainable.