Kitchenware News and Housewares Review It’s definite. Housewares are going to the green. Not only in colour — although certainly green is one of the top colour trends, notably a vibrant acid-lime green or wasabi as an acccent colour with neutrals. It’s bigger than that.

Even a glance through recent issues of Kitchenware News & Housewares Review will reveal a few significant clues.

To begin with, a note from the publisher, Jim McNeil, announces that the prestigious trade publication will be expanding its news coverage of “The Greening of Houseware” in future issues:

Education and awareness are two of the greatest tools. All of us have to understand the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and of toxic wastes… I believe the consumer will preceded both government and business in recognizes these issues. Our leaders will be folks like you and I…

Certainly, we as consumers of household products are more knowledgeble — and more concerned — about the environmental impacts of our buying decisions than ever before. And the industry is responding.

A quick browse through ads and press releases is all it takes to spot the eco-friendly trend, both in new products and in changes to existing homeware lines. These, for example:

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    EcoCulinary cutting board

  • Down to Earth Distributors lists a huge range of green home products — new there is a durable, heat-resistant, dishwasher-safe EcoCulinary cutting board made from PaperStone, a non-toxic “certified green” material made from recycled paper and water-based resins.
  • Kuhn Rikon offers a new Cook & Serve Set that goes straight from cooktop to table, and keeps food at a safe serving temperature for up to two hours without using any electricity.
  • The Euro Cloth (Twist) blends the absorbency of a paper towel and the reusability of a sponge in an anti-bacterial cloth that you can throw in the dishwasher. Even the company’s packaging is leaning to the green message — the package contains instructions for converting it into a little bird feeder!
  • Pressure cookers are making a huge come-back, as we’ve talked about before, and Cucina Pro has a 3-in-1 Cooker that will cook, steam, and deep-fry all in one energy-efficient appliance.
  • And — a small move, perhaps, but significant in its implications — SiliconeZone is converting all of its wooden handled spoons and spatulas to eco-friendly bamboo handles.

bamboo handle silicone spatulas Products like these are clear evidence of the greening trend, which includes a sharper eye for energy-efficiency, for sustainability in materials selection, for durable products that will have a longer useful life, and for products that can multi-task to cut down on clutter and consumption.

I’m fascinated by the way the gap between kitchen and dining room is continuing to narrow, reflecting the open concepts we’ve been seeing in new home design. The kitchen’s not cut off physically from the living space, and the rest of the household activity — in fact, increasingly, the kitchen is the social hub of our homes.

One spin-off of this trend is that casual tableware is going a bit upscale. It’s a step towards downsizing the china cabinet, where one set of tableware — casual china or elegant ceramic — does double duty for both family dining and more formal entertaining.

Yes, there’s no doubt that “green is the new black” these days… but is this concern for the environment just a passing fancy? Green awareness is growing, but is the interest sustainable in the long haul?

I tend to agree with Green Options blogger Philip Proefrock on this. His perspective is from the building and construction side, but my gut says this holds true for every facet of the industries that are driven by our lifestyle choices:

While media fads can quickly come and go, gearing up a manufacturing company’s production to make a new product that meets greener specifications takes time, money and effort. Suppliers and producers of these materials wouldn’t be making these products and attempting to compete on their merits unless they believed there was a market for them. And, even if it is a fad in the wider community, the products are in these manufacturers’ catalogs, and will be available for years to come.

Consumer demand will drive the market for ever-more-green products, and the higher profile of eco-conscious products, combined with greater availability, will help to reinforce that demand. Businesses, if they’re smart, are seeing the opportunity and adapting to match. And eventually, perhaps, product standards and building codes and such may be massaged to follow along…

Which takes us right back to trade-mag publisher Jim McNeil’s sense of where the green movement is headed. “The leaders,” he said, “will be folks like you and I, probably not your elected officials. Not yet.”

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. silken

    I’d be interested in the euro cloth….

  2. domestika

    There’s nothing like a cast-iron skillet for making real cornbread, too, RT… or for defending the home against intruders!

  3. RT Cunningham

    Bamboo grows like weeds, so it’s definitely more eco-friendly. Speaking of durability, I recently purchased the old-fashioned cast iron skillets to replace the teflon coated monstrosities being sold everywhere. These things can last more than a century.

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