As Christmas draws nearer, a lot of us will be cracking out our aprons and getting to work cooking up some festive goodies. Whether you’re baking cookies and mince pies to satisfy a sweet tooth, or making Christmas dinner for the whole family, you should make sure to pay attention to your kitchen utensils. With our help you can make your Christmas not just delicious but also toxic free!
A sustainable main course: stay safe around your pots and pans!
We’ve all been there: you’ve slaved away over your meal, but when you go to serve it up you realize it’s stuck to the pan! You may well be eying up some new dishes with an anti-stick coating, hoping they will save Christmas. But they aren’t the saviour they might first appear:
Many types of food packaging, kitchen utensils, and dishes have anti-stick coatings. Non-stick pots and pans are often coated by polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE, which you likely know as “Teflon”). Unfortunately, product tests found that when heated above 220°C they release toxic fumes. Inhaling the fumes can cause flu-like symptoms, the so-called polymer or Teflon fever.
So, what would we recommend to ensure a sustainable Christmas? Well, sometimes the old ways are the best! Instead of buying or using new PTFE-non-stick versions, opt for cast iron, stainless-steel and ceramic-coated pots and pans. You can burn a non-stick layer into a cast iron pan using oil, following an online tutorial and with a little practice they will work just as well! If you can’t exchange your PTFE-pan for now, you should at least make sure that you don’t heat it up empty for more than 3 minutes! This keeps the temperature moderate and thereby reduces the risk of toxic fumes.
Time for dessert? Don’t let hazardous substances ruin your cookies!
There’s always room for pudding! If you’re baking sweet treats during in the festive period, you will probably at some point use silicone moulds or utensils. When manufactured responsibly, silicone is not dangerous. If silicone is tempered in the manufacturing process, the toxic chemicals can be released before the product comes into contact with food. However, some manufactures skip this step to save money and time, putting your health and the environment at risk.
So, how can you make sure your Christmas in the kitchen is sustainable? Simple. Either opt for bakeware made of ceramics, clay and glass, or if you prefer silicone, just heat it before its first use (200 °C, 4 hours) and ventilate your kitchen thoroughly.
Feeling full? Store your leftovers safely and you can feast again tomorrow!
You’ve eaten your fill of roast dinner, and had a generous helping of pudding, but there’s still food left? Judging how much food to make for Christmas is always an impossible task and leftovers are inevitable! Storing those leftovers correctly will not only let you enjoy your delicious food for longer, but it will also make sure you keep it free of hazardous substances. Follow the tips below for a sustainable Christmas:
When storing leftovers in containers:
- Avoid using plastics for hot, greasy and sour food those types of food can enhance the migration of the hazardous substances from food packaging material.
- Ceramic, glass and stainless-steel containers are safer alternatives.
If using glass jars, make sure the screw caps have a Blueseal layer (blue inner layer), as those are PVC-free.
When covering leftovers with a wrap:
- Avoid using aluminum foil to cover for alkaline or acidic food. Those types of food enhance the migration of aluminum into the food.
- As an option for beeswax wraps as a safer alternative, you can even make your own as a fun Christmas craft by following an online tutorial!
Let’s to change!
With the Scan4chem app you can scan the barcode of a product manufacturers and retailers about the presence of chemicals. This way, it can help you to choose safer products. It will also show the companies that we the consumers care and do not want to buy products containing hazardous substances.
Use the Scan4Chem app and find out if your favorite producer of toys and children’s products has phased out these substances from its production.
Download the app and send your requests. Together we can make products safer!
The campaign has been created within the LIFE AskREACH project and will run in Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Sweden, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and other countries all over Europe. Follow the hashtag #ToxicFreeXmas on social media!
Feel free to join in and be part of this campaign!
If you want to receive further information about our Christmas activities contact: Liga Pakalna (email@example.com ), Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia.