I recently stumbled upon a great blog post about bamboo dinnerware and instantly wanted to share it with everyone. I love that the beautiful Holly allowed me to repost this. (A huge thanks to Leotie Lovely Blog!)
If feels like there are so many decisions to make as we navigate through the emotional pathway of parenthood. I personally subscribe to the theory that if we are able to make an educated choice, we should concentrate on that and think if it as a win… and not dwell on the stuff that you don’t have a choice about. I can’t see that it is worth the anguish.
Holly’s post is about delightful dishware, its manufacturing and impact environmentally at the end of its life… from cradle to grave.
I will not be the first, nor the last, to decimate a dish through excited expressiveness or wildabeast-esc washing techniques. It hasn't been often that I've thought about the true ramifications of my actions, from cradle to grave of the smashed something.
There is very little available online covering the impact of ceramic plates, but I did find one study in which they were comparing the use of traditional ceramic plates with biodegradable dishware for use in the University's cafeteria.
In their study they didn't include the energy consumption and impacts on the earth from the recovery of raw materials (in their case kaolin, feldspar and quartz).
To understand the impact of these raw materials, I looked at the mining practices behind each of the minerals used in ceramics and their individual environmental impacts.
[KAOLIN] Kaolin is located by drilling holes in the earth which can range up to 200 feet in depth. To extract Kaolin, companies have to drill 50-100 holes per 100 acres to find the mineral in abundance and make the extraction. The mining of kaolin is acknowledged to have a negative impact on the environment. According to M.I.T, "[The] environmental hazards are present during every step of the open-pit mining process. Hardrock mining exposes rock that has lain unexposed for geological eras. When crushed, these rocks expose radioactive elements, asbestos-like minerals, and metallic dust. During separation, residual rock slurries, which are mixtures of pulverized rock and liquid, are produced as tailings, toxic and radioactive elements from these liquids can leak into bedrock if not properly contained."
[FELDSPAR] Feldspar, like koalin, is acquired though what is called 'Open Pit Mining'. As M.I.T described above there are toxic and radioactive elements from this mineral which can leak into the bedrock during this process. With fedspar, the primary pollutant of concern is pariculate matter (PM) which is emitted during the processing, crushing, grinding, screening, drying, material handling and transfer operations.
[QUARTZ] Quartz shares the same mining processes as kaolin and feldspere but has the added negative impact on miners themselves as the dust produced during drilling, blasting and shovelling omits toxic gasses and sut which may cause lung cancers and development of chronic silicosis.