February 18th, 2011

Go-to Guide for Eco Friendly Cooking Tools

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Groovy Green Livin Cooking Tools

There is a special drawer in my kitchen that most visitors don’t get to see. It’s jam-packed (and I mean jam-packed) with cooking tools.  Do you have a drawer like this? If your drawer is anything like mine it might be time for an overhaul. Over the years I’ve been replacing the not so eco friendly utensils with greener choices.  But before dumping your entire drawer in the trash and running out to buy new- remember the greenest thing you can do is use what you have and replace the old only when needed.

Steps to overhaul your cooking utensil drawer

Step One: Go through the drawer and take inventory- see what you really need/use.

Step Two: Get rid of the extras.

  • If you decide to replace or weed out some of your cooking utensils-don’t toss the old into the trash.
  • Find out if your city or town take plastic utensils for recycling.
  • You can also keep them around for craft projects, imaginative play for kids and mixing henna hair dye (my favorite for my old wooden spoons).

Step Three: Replace utensils that are broken or made of  toxic materials.

Ready to replace?

Here is your go-to guide for eco friendly cooking tools

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel cooking tools are made from a mixture of several different metals, including nickel, chromium and molybdenum, all of which can trickle into foods. Leaching will happen only if your stainless steel utensils are dinged and the amount of leaching would be small. Note: if you have a nickel sensitivity, exposure to stainless steel could cause redness, itching or slight swelling. STAINLESS STEEL: THUMBS UP


Wooden cooking utensils are a staple in my kitchen.  Many are made from sustainable sources. They don’t transfer heat and are durable, lasting for many years. If you have any non-stick pots and pans left after reading my article on Choosing Healthy Pots and Pans, wooden utensils won’t cause scratching on non-stick coatings. The bad news-as with wooden cutting boards, they can also harbor germs. WOOD: DEPENDS ON THE TYPE  OF WOOD AND HOW WELL THEY ARE CLEANED-THUMBS SIDEWAYS

Bamboo is a great green alternative to other woods.  It is a renewable resource, capable of regenerating without replanting and it also has amazing anti-bacterial properties! Bamboo absorbs very little moisture and therefore does not shrink or swell. It makes an excellent choice for cutting boards and kitchen utensils. BAMBOO: THUMBS UP


Silicon is inexpensive, colorful, non-stick  and just plain cool looking. But what about its safety? Some claim that silicone does off-gas, and raise concerns that additives may include petroleum or other harmful ingredients.  Others claim that there are no known health hazards.  I say err on the side of caution. SILICON: THUMBS DOWN

Photo used under Creative Commons from Carly Watson


Plastic and food just don’t belong together. There are so many toxic chemicals in plastic that can leach into your food. The production of plastic is hurting our environment. Plastic ends up in our water ways and landfills, killing wildlife and not decomposing.  If you still don’t believe that plastic is toxic to you and to the environment check out Beth Terry’s wonderful site, My Plastic Free Life. PLASTIC: THUMBS DOWN


Teflon cooking tools are coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE). According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), toxic fumes from the Teflon releases when exposed to excessive heat and could kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms.  TEFLON: THUMBS DOWN

When it comes to changing around your cooking tools remember:

  • Think recycle and re-purpose before tossing
  • Replace only when needed

Looking to replace your pots and pans?  Check out my post on How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans.

Do you have any cooking tool suggestions?

If this post helped you, please share it. And please grab our RSS feed or sign up for free e-mail updates to get more Groovy Green info hot off the press! Thanks!

*Top photo used under Creative Commons from Alan Levine

17 Responses to “Go-to Guide for Eco Friendly Cooking Tools”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lori Popkewitz Alper, Lori Popkewitz Alper. Lori Popkewitz Alper said: Go-to Guide for Eco Friendly Cooking Tools http://t.co/pkg94zR at http://t.co/Jhkecsb […]

  2. Thanks so much! This article was just what I needed! I had some iffy things in my kitchen…maybe I can upcycle the non-winners into a kitchen inspired mobile:)

  3. Now that I would love to see!

  4. I definitely use silicone pancake turners. Maybe I’ll try to find a bamboo replacement that would work with my enameled cast iron. It would be hard to find something thin enough. For everything else, I pretty much use stainless steel. But what do you use for spatulas? I have high-heat resistant plastic. I guess I could look for something made of real rubber.

  5. Thanks for this handy guide – definitely cleared things up for me! cheers 🙂

  6. You are so welcome Shoshana!

  7. Thanks for sharing details on cooking tools that are eco-friendly. It was interesting seeing your process of overhauling your cooking utensil drawer. Good post.

  8. You’re welcome. It was overwhelming overhauling that drawer! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. As you clean up your kitchen, and recycle the items, make sure to replace disposable paper, plastic and styro-foam plates, cups, cutlery with bagasse sugarcane plates, compostable cutlery, and compostable cups. This will make your guests feel that they are truly into green kitchen. They are available at http://www.ecokloud.com/.

  10. […] Over time, replace cooking utensils with eco-friendly alternatives. Over the years I’ve been replacing the not so eco-friendly utensils with greener choices such as […]

  11. […] Wooden kitchen utensils are commonly used in many homes. They’re lightweight and being made from sustainable sources, are good for the environment. […]

  12. […] or any other meat. Soak them  in warm water before grilling to prevent burning of the skewers. Bamboo is a great green alternative to other woods.  It is a renewable resource, capable of regenerating […]

  13. […] wrote a Go-To Guide to Eco-Friendly Cooking Tools not long ago. My favorite cooking tool is my immersion blender. I use it all the time for soups. I […]

  14. so silicon is bad too lol?

  15. What about the glue in bamboo cutting boards? They’re made of small pieces of bamboo (a grass) which means that bamboo cutting boards use a substantial amount of glue to hold them together and usually that glue is a foreign made formadahyde base glue. bamboo cutting boards are not toxic free!

  16. What is the point when everything we eat is provided in plastic containers, one example where can I buy milk/water that is in glass containers. Everything in my cupboard is provided in plastic.

  17. It is frustrating, Jane. I completely understand. To avoid plastic it’s important to buy fresh, whole foods as much as you can. I know that’s not always possible, but it’s a start. There are companies that sell milk in glass containers.

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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