Created by two friends in Belgium, GreenPan was born from a need to find an alternative to traditional nonstick coatings made from PTFE (Teflon). It then developed a ceramic coating called Thermolon that paved the way for the brand to be a worldwide leader in green, non-toxic cookware. GreenPan’s portfolio ranges from lightweight aluminum to heavier stainless and hard-anodized aluminum cookware, all featuring its signature ceramic coating.
This popular kitchenware manufacturer is known best for popularizing food processors in 1973, but today Cuisinart also carries a full line of small kitchen appliances, cooks’ tools, and cookware. Its GreenGourmet series is available in two versions: the first is made from hard-anodized aluminum, and the second is made from tri-ply stainless steel. Its nonstick pieces use a water-based, petroleum-free ceramic coating known as Ceramica.
This well-known French cookware brand—sometimes marketed as Tefal—takes its name from the combination of the words “Teflon” and “aluminum.” Though many of T-Fal’s beloved products are made with traditional nonstick coatings, its Initiatives lineup features a PTFE-free ceramic coating that handles higher-heat cooking and performs as well as its regular nonstick finishes.
Launched in November 2019, this new cookware manufacturer has built its brand on products that are free of PTFE (Teflon) and other toxic chemicals. While its assortment is not as extensive as other brands, it carries a fantastic selection of essential pieces in on-trend colors and aesthetically pleasing designs.
Care and Maintenance
Like any other type of cookware, maintenance for these eco-friendly selections depends on the pan’s material. For non-coated pieces like stainless steel and hard-anodized aluminum, which are naturally resistant to scratches, you’ll be able to be a little rougher with them (though some manufacturers will specify if the pans should be hand-washed only). For ceramic-coated pots and pans, you’ll want to take the same care as you would with traditional nonstick—avoid using sharp and metal tools on the interior, use a nylon scrubber to gently remove any food residue, and pick mild dishwashing detergents to help preserve the lifespan of the coating. Bear in mind that ceramic coating, like PTFE, erodes with time and should be replaced once the nonstick properties are significantly diminished. Additionally, if there is any cracking or flaking in the ceramic finish, it’s a sign that it’s time to buy a new pan.
What is considered eco-friendly cookware?
This is a broad term that covers a couple of issues. First is cookware safety, specifically any concern for off-gassing or chemical leaching. Cookware made with traditional nonstick coatings may contain PTFE or PFAs that may be linked to certain medical conditions due to long-term exposure. Another issue is sustainability, both within the production process and regarding the life cycle of the pans. An “eco-friendly” set of cookware is made with materials that are sourced responsibly, manufactured with minimal environmental impact, and last long enough to keep them from filling up landfills.
Why do people want to avoid traditional nonstick cookware?
As mentioned above, many traditional nonstick coatings are made with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl (PFAS), and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), all of which can let off toxic fumes when overheated. Nonstick coatings made with silica-based materials (aka ceramic coating) are considered non-toxic as they don’t contain these chemicals and there is no concern about off-gassing.
What materials are considered eco-friendly and non-toxic?
Ceramic coatings are made from a glass-like compound and manufactured without hazardous chemicals. Cast iron lasts for years and is made from a simple alloy of carbon and steel; there may be some iron that gets released into your food when you cook, but it is generally not a bad thing. Carbon steel is made from a similar, non-toxic alloy to cast iron and will last a long time (as long as it is cared for properly). And stainless steel is a non-reactive, long-lasting option that can typically be recycled when it has outlived its use.