Paige Knight - 18 / Apr / 2024

    Earth Day: What Does Sustainability Mean to Us?

    What does sustainability mean to you? Let's talk about how businesses like Blackstones are supporting our environment this Earth Day.

    Earth Day: What Does Sustainability Mean to Us?
    The B Blog

    Earth Day is just around the corner, bringing sustainability to the top of everybody’s mind. Now is the time to think about how we use our energy, dispose of waste, and interact with the Earth’s resources. At Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill, we keep the environment in mind every day as we choose our vendors, curate thoughtful products, and engage in sustainable in-store practices. Let’s talk about what sustainability means to us, the vendors we choose, and the customers who shop with us. 

    What is Sustainability?

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States produces 4.9 pounds of waste per person each day. According to our calculations, that’s just short of 300 million tons of waste per year! Figures like this drive home the importance of sustainability, but what does sustainability really mean? 

    The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as, “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

    Put more simply: sustainability is about using our resources wisely so that there are still resources left for future generations. Businesses have a responsibility to engage in ethical practices that protect our environment for generations to come. Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill takes that responsibility seriously, so let’s talk about what we’re doing to promote a sustainable future. 

    Sustainability in Kitchenware

    As the largest knife retailer in New England, kitchenware is a big part of what we do. From specialty knives to cookware, bakeware, and cooks’ tools, we’ve got just about everything a cook could want. We don’t take the responsibility of being one of Boston’s only kitchenware stores lightly; we work hard to be conscious of sustainability in the products we stock and the guidance we give our customers.

    Epicurean cutting board

    Epicurean’s cutting boards are made from sustainable Richlite, a wood composite made by pressing hundreds of sheets of paper together using heat until they form a solid wood board.

    All kitchenware production has some negative impact on the environment. Whether it be from mining and refining raw materials or from packaging and shipping products, every piece of cookware you buy has a carbon footprint. That’s why we’ve found that durability is key when it comes to sustainability in kitchenware. 

    We believe that the best way to minimize your carbon footprint is to invest in cookware and bakeware that lasts, so we stock our inventory with high-quality, sustainable products that will last you years, if not a lifetime. As you shop for kitchenware, follow our helpful tips for more sustainable choices. 

    5 Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen

    #1 Choose Your Material Wisely 

    In our types of cookware and types of bakeware blogs we talk a lot about different kitchenware materials. The material you choose impacts cooking applications, but it also impacts the sustainability of your kitchen tools. For more sustainable cookware and bakeware, we recommend investing in durable materials, like cast iron, stoneware, stainless steel, and carbon steel. Likewise we encourage our customers to invest in knives made of durable, high-quality steel.

    #2 Shop for All-Rounders 

    Another way to build a sustainable kitchen is to shop for multitaskers instead of single-purpose pieces. This is especially relevant when it comes to knives. Though big block sets are popular options, most people only use a few of the knives that come in big sets. That’s why we recommend sticking to three essential knives and investing in a chef’s knife, paring knife, and bread knife made with premium steel. 

    #3 Build a Crafty Collection 

    As a local business based in Boston, Massachusetts, we know a thing or two about being crafty in small spaces. We even wrote a blog about how to make the most of a small kitchen. To live a more sustainable life, we recommend that everybody build their collection as if they’re living in a cramped, Boston apartment. Buy only the most essential pieces and invest in quality!

    MU Kitchen sponge cloths

    MU Kitchen’s sponge cloths are made from earth-friendly 70% cellulose and 30% cotton, with each cloth replacing up to 15 rolls of paper towels.

    #4 Choose Eco-Friendly Brands

    Our store features a variety of eco-friendly brands, like If You Care, Once Again Home, Bees Wrap, Bambu, and MU Kitchen, who make products that are environmentally conscious. With the help of these brands, we hope to empower our customers to make sustainability a way of life by replacing plastic wrap, paper towels, and other needless waste. 

    #5 Recycle Old Cookware

    What do you do with cookware that’s on its last leg? Most people don’t realize that old cookware can be recycled. So, the next time you replace your old, battered pan with a shiny, new one, take the time to have it recycled instead of sending it to the landfill.

    Our Favorite Sustainable Kitchenware Brands

    While we’re talking about sustainability in the kitchen, we wanted to recognize some brands that really go the extra mile, including: 

    • Made In: A family-run business based in Austin, Texas, Made In is working to bring restaurant-quality cookware to the average consumer. Their pots, pans, and knives are durable and built to last, making them perfect for sustainable cooks. Furthermore, Made In also engages in a ton of sustainable practices that set them apart. They partner with ethical factories, package their products using sustainable materials, offer shipping options that reduce carbon emissions, and even offer a recycling program.
    • Lodge Cast Iron: If you’re a fan of cast iron, you’ve probably heard of Lodge. Known for making heirloom-quality cookware since 1896, Lodge is a household name that’s been focused on sustainability for years. A Zero Hazardous Waste Foundry since 1991, Lodge has been on the cutting edge of environmental consciousness for decades. In addition to their comprehensive company recycling program that saved over 931.8 tons of waste in 2021, Lodge is a part of the ENERGY STAR challenge and a member of the Tennessee Green Star Partnership.

    Miyabi Birchwood knife sits on a cutting board with sliced green onions

    Miyabi is another knife brand that combines the durability of Japanese craftsmanship with the sustainability practices of their parent company, Zwilling.  

    • Zwilling: One of our most prominent brands, Zwilling offers everything from dutch ovens to high-quality knives. Zwilling prides themselves on their future-oriented mindset, creating sustainable value in lieu of short-term profits. They’ve been Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified since 2022, they package their products using sustainable materials, and are taking steps toward being carbon-neutral by 2030.
    • Curio Spice Company: There’s a lot that sets Curio apart from other spice brands. Founder Claire Cheney is working to revolutionize the spice industry by building direct relationships with small, sustainable farms. Her goal is to promote sustainable practices and to improve the lives of traditionally underpaid spice farmers. To learn more about Curio and their unique blends, check out our spice blog

    Sustainability in Home Goods

    Sustainability doesn’t stop in our kitchenware section. When it comes to home decor, we strive to partner primarily with local brands who share our vision for a sustainable future. In addition to investing in our community, we invest in the future by choosing high-quality, environmentally conscious home decor products. When choosing sustainable home decor, we recommend shopping local, investing in quality, and being picky about what goes into your products. Let’s talk about some home decor brands who set the bar high. 

    Our Favorite Sustainable Home Brands

    • LAFCO New York: Founded in 1992, LAFCO has been producing unique luxury scents for years, but that’s not the only thing that sets them apart from other brands. From wick to wax, LAFCO curates their products with sustainable materials that last long after your candle’s been burned. Where other brands use paraffin wax, a crude oil derivative that releases toxic compounds into the air, LAFCO uses sustainable soy wax in their candles. Housed in beautiful, hand-blown glass vessels, the fun isn’t done once a LAFCO candle has been burned. Their vessels can be repurposed and used as drinking glasses, vases, or unique home accents.

    Caspari pairs beautiful designs with sustainable business practices.

     

    • Caspari: Since 1945, Caspari has been a leader in producing environmentally friendly printed paper products. Leaders in the use of renewable resources, Caspari’s partners print on FSC and SFI certified paper in low-energy facilities that are run on wind and recycled energy. Only water-based dyes are used in their printing process, and all of their facilities’ wastewater systems are groundwater neutral. 
    • Spencer Peterman: Based in Western Massachusetts, Spencer Peterman is an artisan who makes unique wood boards, bowls, and utensils. His secret? All of his wood comes from fallen trees. In addition to creating strikingly unique designs, Peterman gives new life to trees that would otherwise have been chipped or cut up for firewood and avoids needlessly farming virgin wood. What’s more, Peterman’s products are durable enough to last for generations with proper care. Peterman also practices sustainability in his own business practices, using scrap wood to heat his workshop, donating excess wood to other local artisans, and donating sawdust to be used as mulch at local farms. 
    • Henrietta Glass Studio: A small artisan who creates blown glass designs by hand, Jill Henrietta Davis crafts beautiful vases, figurines, and ring holders. Only offered in-store at our Beacon Hill location, Henrietta Glass became some of the greenest glass blowers around in 2019 when they installed 122 solar panels on their studio roof. These panels generate the electricity that runs the studio’s glass melting furnace and ovens. 
    • Potager Soap Company: On the skincare side of things, Potager is a chemical-free, certified-organic brand that is serious about sustainability. Established in 1999, Potager is a woman-owned, family-run business based out of Concord, Massachusetts. They believe that environmental consciousness is a way of life, so they work hard to promote biodiversity in the growth and harvesting of their ingredients, utilizing eco-friendly materials and sustainable packaging of their products.

    Potager soap

    Soaps that are chemical free and organic are as good for our bodies as they are for the environment.

    Sustainability at Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill

    In addition to partnering with environmentally conscious vendors, the team at Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill engages in a variety of in-store sustainability practices. We recycle religiously, re-use packaging when shipping products to customers, and save any packing materials received from vendors to be reused for insulation of breakable in-store purchases.

    Boxes piled up in the basement of Blackstone's of Beacon Hill

    Here’s a picture of what our basement looks like on any given day as we receive products and stock up for recycling day!

    We know what sustainability means to us, but what does it mean to you? When you shop with Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill, you’re shopping for a sustainable future. Stop by our Boston location at 40 Charles Street to chat with our staff about the sustainable brands and products we couldn’t fit in this blog – there are lots. If you don’t live in the area, check out Blackstone's website to view our products, build your gift registry, or learn something new on our blog.

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