How “Green” Are Ceramic Pans?


After studies revealed how Teflon-coated nonstick pans were contaminating both our bodies & the world around us, manufacturers had to look for alternatives. Teflon has averse effects on our health, and both its production (via tailings) & use (via toxic off-gassing) negatively impacts the environment. After these discoveries, ceramic cookware and ceramic coating became popular as a safer and supposedly ‘greener’ alternative. No one can argue that ceramic pans are a safer alternative to Teflon, but is it actually eco-friendly and fully healthy? Unfortunately, it is not as great a cookware set as you may think. Here’s why:

What Makes Ceramic Cookware Unsafe?

The most reported complaint from home cooks about ceramic nonstick cookware is that the ceramic coating is not durable. Cracks form over time on the nonstick surface, causing the core material (like an aluminum core) to leach into food and release fumes when heated. Also, the tempered glass lids supplied with nonstick ceramic coated cookware are known to release toxic off-gassing at high heat. These gases impact both health and environment, especially given their composition.

Ceramic Frying Pan
Nonstick Ceramic Cookware

The composition of ceramic pots are far from ‘non-toxic‘, because it is made from low quality clay with toxic impurities. The clay can include metals such as Iron, Manganese, Titanium, Magnesium, Aluminum, Barium, Copper, and even Lead and Cadmium. The material is often sourced in part from mining waste (far from being high quality sources), then further modified with hundreds of chemicals and additives in production. The ceramic industry has dumped tailings that contain these harmful chemicals, polluting the soil and water surrounding these plants.

Additionally, during firing, the chemically-laden ceramic material releases toxic fumes containing dioxins, sulfides, chlorides, fluorides, and some carbonates. Many materials partially vaporize and become airborne when heated in a kiln, polluting the air. These poisonous gases may include antimony, boron, cadmium, dioxin, lead, selenium, zinc, and precious metals. Not only can these be breathed in, but they also condense on all surfaces they contact.

The environmental issues presented by the production & use of ceramic nonstick cookware mandate transition from a ceramic cookware set to an even healthier and ‘greener’ alternative, like MEC’s pure clay cookware set. Keep reading to learn more about this cookware.

What Makes MEC’s Pure Clay Pots and Pans so ‘Green’?

MEC (Miriam’s Earthen Cookware) is a US-based pioneering company that makes cookware from lab-tested pure primary clay without additives, chemicals, or glazes. Besides being 100% renewable, this natural raw material is free from metal or chemical contaminants, preventing toxic waste release during production. MEC individually handcrafts each piece on a potter’s wheel using skillful hands, and this process doesn’t call for toxic additives or waste from a mechanized manufacturing process.

When in use, the cooking surface becomes naturally nonstick as the pot is fully seasoned with repeated use, which makes it the only nonstick cookware without coating. Furthermore, MEC pots and pans cook with earthen far-infrared heat (learn more) that cooks at low heat, taking less time & consuming less energy. These retain heat for longer, with food staying warm for hours after cooking. Regularly cooking in MEC is a great step towards a sustainable kitchen for the amount of energy it saves!

Lastly, at the end of their useful lifecycle, MEC pots are fully compostable. They go back to the same earth where they come from, unlike other non-biodegradable raw materials. All these reasons make MEC a healthier and greener alternative to ceramic nonstick cookware. Want to do your part in ensuring a healthy & safe environment? Head over to our online store and order your pure clay nonstick cookware today!

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MEC Nonstick Pans

People Also Ask:

Is ceramic better than non-stick?

Nonstick cookware typically uses Teflon nonstick coating, which is known to leach PTFE and PFOA, both known carcinogens that can stay in the human body and the environment for long periods of time. On the other hand – despite being a better alternative, ceramics are composed of many additives that can leach into food and release toxic gases in making and in use. Therefore, both are unsafe for us and the planet.


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