Choosing an ethical and sustainable chopping board and knife
A good chopping board and knife is vital if you want to prepare meals with comfort and ease. Many chopping boards are made from flimsy plastic which not only uses non-renewable resources, but they soon become scratched, making them unhygienic and a likely candidate for the landfill. Wooden boards are often sourced from the wood of non-sustainably managed forests, treated with toxic varnishes and transported thousands of miles across the world to arrive shrink wrapped in plastic.
So what is the most ethical, sustainable and eco friendly way to protect your worksurfaces?
Choose a wooden board that is made from sustainable wood. Wooden boards last longer than plastic, do not scratch so easily and have natural antibacterial properties.
My number one choice would be from Ecocentric. Ecocentric sell solid oak chopping boards which are handmade in the UK from sustainable timber. Yes, they cost a small fortune, but they are worth every penny. A good chopping board will probably last you until you take your last earthside breath. One harvested and made in the UK produces the least carbon footprint.
One Village sell oiled, eucalyptus wood boards with are fairly traded. All of the products offered by One Village respect and honour the environment and promote awareness of the interconnection of all things. One Village work to build up communities, relieve poverty and despair, improve social and environmental conditions and educate and inform.
Ecotopia sell unique ‘Eco chopping boards’. Each one is harvested from sustainable resources in the hinterland of Byron Bay and hand made from Australian Camphor Laurel Timber. Established in 2002 with assistance from the Prince’s Trust, Ecotopia assists people in leading a more natural and lower impact lifestyle.
Bamboo is the latest in green talk. Green Tulip stock bamboo chopping boards. Bamboo absorbs little moisture which minimises swelling and warping. They are made from organic bamboo certified by an internationally recognised certification body. Their supplier is committed to the fair treatment of workers, promoting healthy communities and preserving the environment. And we all know that bamboo is hailed as one of the miracle plants of the eco conscious. It is the fastest growing plant in the world, making it a sustainable and renewable resource. It thrives without pesticides or fertilisers.
Green Tulip also stock beech chopping boards made from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
It’s a bit of a job to find a truly ‘ethical’ kitchen knife. So the best thing you can do is buy something to last. Don’t get the cheapest one you can find and buy into our disposable lifestyle; the blade will warp and it will be uncomfortable to use. Instead find a knife that is comfortable to hold. Select forged high-carbon steel knives that can be easily sharpened again and again.
If you’re lucky, you might find a hand made knife crafted with a wooden handle from a sustainably managed forest. There are still a few people that make them dotted around the world. You might do well to visit a blacksmith and commission one to suit your needs.
One company, Toginon sells high quality knives that come with two blades. When one goes blunt, you use the second blade while your blunt one gets sent back to the manufacturer to be professionally sharpened. To be honest, I think this sounds a bit of an unnecessary effort (and wasted air miles to Japan) and it has a faint aroma of green washing. It’s not difficult to sharpen your own blade, providing you buy a good quality knife in the first place.
The most frugal choice is to get second hand knives. You may find that charity shops won’t sell sharp knives, so try your local Freecycle group.