Last February, we began a search for products in the housewares category that could feature in a ‘Sustainability Showcase’ being created at the ‘Exclusively Shows‘ digital event in July 2020. In particular, we were hoping to find products, not necessarily considered, or perceived as ‘sustainable’ because of how they are made, or the raw materials they contain; but that the maker (or seller) had taken another innovative action to make up for the product, or process’s shortcomings.
What we discovered is how complex the issue is and how easy it is to have a completely incorrect perception about a material, a process, or any other aspect of a company’s position on this subject.
We came across a company in the West Midlands area of the UK, Samuel Groves a British cookware manufacturer with over 200 years of experience & success doing so. Samuel Groves cookware is made using stainless steel and our immediate reaction was “well that doesn’t fit them” based upon an almost non-existent knowledge of the steel industry but a perception that it couldn’t be all that good … could it?
The right-thing-to-do was to get stuck into some research on the subject so that we could then make an informed judgement. We were wrong, that’s the outcome, and what follows is ‘why’ not only were we wrong about the material, but we were wrong about the commitment at this company for the environment and their wish to make a positive contribution.
Our starting place was the technical department of the British Stainless Steel Association and immediately we discovered a new reality for our understanding of the basic material being used to create the cookware in the West Midlands. This is what we discovered:
In a world where we should all be working hard to save and preserve the environment, stainless steel emerges as an excellent recyclable material. In fact, stainless steel is 100% recyclable. Stainless steel products are designed for longevity; often several decades and this is often the reason for choosing it in the first place. Even when it does come to the end of its useful life stainless steel is an exceptionally useful material in recycling. It’s main elements chromium, nickel & molybdenum (?) are all highly valuable, easily recovered and separated.
The amount of recycled stainless steel in any stainless steel product is c60%, and this can only increase as stainless steel produced today, will not necessarily be recycled for 20-30 years!
Finally, it was interesting to learn that
Stainless steel comprises: 25% Old scrap (end of life products), 35% new scrap (returning from production), and 40% new raw material.
Stainless steel is a durable and fairly eco-friendly material can last for decades. But if you do ever need to dispose of a steel pot or pan, some municipalities (such as New York City) actually accept metal pans with curbside recycling — now’s a good time to check your town’s website in the country where you live. So … good material choice Samuel Groves!
Stainless steel cookware is safe for cooking and has been popular in the kitchen for decades … particularly useful when it comes to boiling, sautéing and baking because they retain heat cooking smaller baked items evenly. Stainless steel is also easy to clean; scrubbing pans down with steel wool will keep layers of oil from accumulating on the surface.
So a surprising (to us) conclusion turns out to be that Stainless steel is great for the environment because it’s 100% recyclable and literally lasts a lifetime. As if that wasn’t enough, THE aspect of this company’s sustainability credentials that really gained our support was in a perhaps, brave, and counter-intuitive decision they had made. To win consumer loyalty and support the people at Samuel Groves cookware made a decision that was good for the planet now, good for their customers now and one that they ‘expect’ to be good for them in the future … which is why we love the fact that they made an eco-friendly decision FIRST …. all’s explained in the video.
If you’d like to have more insight into exactly what we all, as consumers, expect business to be doing in support of the environment, climate change and restoring the planet … get in touch for an exploratory chat about how together we can chart a pathway to a secure future for your company.
Email or phone Phil +447896088996