Chopping Boards: Which Material Is Most Eco-Friendly?

Chopping Boards: Which Material Is Most Eco-Friendly?

Sarah Starkey
Feb 22, 2011

It's been a while since I purchased a chopping board and it seems like I missed a few developments in the great 'plastic vs. wood' chopping board debate. There are some new contenders in the fight for food preparation supremacy, but we're still asking the same old questions: Which is best for me, my environment and my food?

1. Hard Wood They seemed out of favor for a while but wooden chopping boards are enjoying a resurgence. They are easy on knives and built to last, but they do require regular maintenance and they aren't dishwasher friendly. You can further minimize the environmental impact by choosing boards that use sustainably grown or salvaged woods.

2. Plastic For a long time non-porous plastic chopping boards were believed to be more hygienic than natural chopping boards but this claim is still being refuted. More recently the environmental impact of plastic manufacturing and the long term effects of plastics on foods has been called into question and plastic chopping boards, which are inherently more disposable than natural alternatives, are losing their appeal.

3. Bamboo Like hard woods, bamboo has some natural anti-bacterial qualities and the material is one of the most sustainable. It is generally lighter than hardwood boards making it easier to store and move and newer ranges of bamboo chopping boards are dishwasher friendly but they still require regular maintenance.

4. Glass While glass and other hard surfaced boards may seem like the perfect solution to the porous vs. non porous, disposable vs. re-usable debate they are unfortunately, in practical application, slippery, noisy and very bad for knives. However they are easy to clean and you can find boards made from recycled glass, so if you don't mind the rather extensive list of cons...

5. Silicone Silicone chopping boards and chopping mats have many of the same characteristics as plastic boards but they are much more flexible and adhesive. While they are non porous, easy to maintain and use, they are disposable, synthetic and non-recyclable.

6. Paper We have spoken about recycled paper chopping boards before and boards made from 100% post consumer recycled paper definitely ticks a lot of eco boxes. The lightweight core and non porous surface combine to make an environmentally-friendly option for people who appreciate the functional qualities of plastic chopping boards.

7. Cork Cork is natural, biodegradable, recyclable and has anti-fungal properties which make it ideal for chopping boards. It's lightweight, easy on knives and doesn't absorb odors making it durable and functional.

(images: as linked above. 3. via igreenspot)

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