Emulating the form of our two cupped hands, it’s hard to imagine what life would be without the humble bowl. There are few shapes as natural and fundamental.
Whether you’re searching for the perfect bowl for decoration, finishing your table setting, or baking something delicious, we have you covered! A large multipurpose mixing bowl is an essential part of any kitchen and a go-to for your sustainable wedding registry.
With so many options to choose from, how do you decide which one will suit your needs and have the lowest impact on the planet? We know it can be overwhelming, but fear not!
Today we’re diving into the *surprisingly fascinating* world of mixing bowls to help you find the perfect one for you.
At Everlastly, we aim to give you the tools you need to make sustainability simple––and mixing bowls are no exception. In this review, we’ll cover the best mixing bowls to consider, plus we’ll take a deep dive into our research process and material analysis so you can shop with 100% confidence. While this post focuses on mixing bowls our materials analysis applies to all products made from these materials.
Eco Friendly Mixing Bowls
1. Stainless Steel Bowls: Built to Last
Stainless steel has quickly become one of our favorite materials here at Everlastly. Though the manufacturing process does have a significant carbon footprint, the durability of sustainable steel more than makes up for it. It’s strong, corrosion-resistant, non-reactive, and nearly infinitely recyclable. Its qualities like these that make it an all-around winner for your kitchen.
*Our Top Stainless Steel Pick*
Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set by Cuisinart
2. Ceramic Bowls: Luxury Without Sacrifice
If you’re looking for beautiful aesthetics and stunning colour choices, look no further than ceramic. Like stainless steel, ceramics initially carry a notable energy cost, but when treated with care, well-made ceramics can last a lifetime, which outweighs the initial energy cost associated with firing the pottery. Though it’s not the industry standard, we’ve found manufacturers like Casafina and Costa Nova that use a single-firing technique in which both the clay and the glaze are fired in one process, minimizing carbon emissions. We call that a win!
*Our Top Ceramic Pick*
Frattoria Mixing Bowl by Casafina
3. Copper Bowls: A Baker’s Best Friend
Copper boasts incredible properties that practically guarantee a perfect meringue and smooth custard. Not to mention that sepia-tone glow that makes it a stunning addition to your kitchen!
A popular choice for electrical conduction, copper’s unique properties promote even heating for food, helping you avoid scalding your ingredients or burning your baked goods. Copper ions actually incorporate into the bowl’s contents, giving egg white foam stability and firmness. In the amounts released by cookware, copper is not only safe, it can even be beneficial for the body, providing necessary trace metals.
Although copper mining poses such environmental risks as elevated water use, irresponsible sourcing, and biodiversity loss, Everlastly partners with companies that seek to minimize adverse effects to human and environmental health. Copper also wins points for longevity, as a modern heirloom that’s beautiful enough to pass down.
*Our Top Copper Pick*
100% Recycled Copper Mixing Bowl Set by Sertodo Copper
4. Glass Bowls: Timeless Classics
Glass can be shaped into an infinite number of trendy or classic forms making it a stylish choice for kitchenware. It’s also non-toxic and less porous than other materials, which means your ingredients will maintain their flavor, strength, and aroma.
Fun fact: it's actually easier to produce glassware from recycled glass than from raw materials like sand, ash and limestone. Glass that is free of additives can be 100% recycled meaning that it does not experience any loss of quality through the process. Chances are you won’t need to worry about recycling your glass mixing bowl for many years to come, but keep in mind many recycling plants do not have the equipment required to recycle glass other than bottles, so double-check before you put any glassware into your recycling bin.
*Our Top Glass Pick*
Coming Soon to our store
Are Plastic Mixing Bowls Safe?
5. Plastic Bowls: The Last Resort
Unlike the choices above which won't contaminate your food or the environment, plastic releases toxins and produces microplastics that pollute our waterways, and contaminate the soil and the air we breathe.
Plastics are made from non-renewable and unsustainable fossil fuels. Since the factories used to create plastic also typically run on fossil fuels, the carbon footprint of plastic products is usually very high. On the current course, carbon emissions from plastics will reach 17 percent of the global carbon budget by 2050. At the end of life only some plastics can be recycled, and at that only downcycled to an item of lesser quality, meaning just about all plastic eventually end up in a landfill.
* Everlastly does not carry any mixing bowls made from bioplastic because of the high environmental impact
6. Bioplastic Bowls: A Better Alternative?
Instead of using petroleum like traditional plastic, bioplastics are made from the naturally-occurring sugars derived from plants such as corn, sugarcane, potatoes, or bamboo. At first glance, they seem to be a sustainable alternative to plastic, but bioplastics still have some issues that need to be resolved.
Many of the conventional monocrops used to produce bioplastics are harmful to the environment, though bamboo is typically regarded as a better alternative thanks to its higher durability and lower CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, bioplastics still require bonding agents like resins to hold the fibers together and some even contain plastics as a strengthening material.
In many cases, melamine-formaldehyde resin is used, which is linked to kidney stones and kidney disease when exposed to heat or acidic foods. Everlastly does not carry products containing melamine for this reason. Bioplastics are also not as durable as the other materials on this list. Still, we’re optimistic about the future of bioplastics and hope to one day find a brand that has solved the durability issue and doesn’t use any harmful or unknown ingredients.
* Everlastly does not carry any mixing bowls made from bioplastics until we find an option that has resolved the low durability issue.
How We Rate Sustainability - Our Evergrade Research
Have you narrowed down your options? Alright, now let’s get nerdy!
We hope that this deep-dive into materials helps inform which bowl is right for your home and values. It’s not just about how each product is made, it’s about what happens over its entire usable life and beyond. In industry jargon, this is called a “lifecycle assessment,” and it incorporates environmental costs at all steps of the process––from manufacturing to a product’s eventual disposal.
Here are some of the key factors we consider when evaluating every product we sell on Everlastly.com:
Price – Is this a reasonable price point for our valued clientele?
Carbon Footprint – does this product emit excessive greenhouse gasses with respect to its longevity and raw materials?
Durability – Does this product stand the test of time? When a product lasts longer, it needs to be replaced less often, resulting in a lower overall impact.
Circularity- Is this product made from virgin raw materials or recycled materials? Can it be recycled into a new product or purpose at the end of its life?
Overall Environmental Impact – Does this product place an undue burden on a particular aspect of the ecosystem? Examples include water usage, energy usage, contributions to biodiversity and habitat loss, and end-of-life toxicity.
Integral to these assessments are “toxicology reports,” which detail harmful compounds escaping from materials at different points over their lifespan. Manufacturing is a notoriously opaque process, which is why we only stock products from manufacturers with a commitment to transparency.
Furthermore, we review material interactions with foods and temperatures to ensure that you, your family and the environment are safe from harmful compounds. Of course, as materials are refined, waste is necessarily produced––which is why we prioritize manufacturers with safe disposal or repurposing processes. Key impact areas at this stage include excessive water usage, biodiversity loss, and durability.
All of these considerations are neatly rolled up into an Evergrade rating for each of our products, so you can see the impacts of your choices at a glance. Evergrade is constantly evolving and becoming more detailed, so be sure to check our collection for the most up-to-date info on the products you’re interested in.
Now let’s take a closer look at the materials we’ve reviewed today!
Price: Stainless steel is slightly more expensive than other options, but this is largely outweighed by its durability.
Carbon Footprint: While the carbon footprint of stainless steel is high, its durability and the increasing rate at which it's recycled continue to make this material even greener.
Durability: A good stainless steel bowl will last you a lifetime, and unlike plastic, it won’t contaminate your food or the ocean
Circularity: Stainless steel is currently being recycled at a rate of 80% globally, and there is strong demand for recycled steel
Overall Environmental Impact: Recent advancements have enabled the byproduct of steel production to be repurposed for use in the construction industry. The water used in production can now be used up to 100 times and then treated to be released into the general wastewater system!
Price: The price of a ceramic mixing bowl varies greatly depending on its quality. We see a good ceramic bowl as an investment with the versatility to be everything from a mixing bowl, a centerpiece, or serve ware.
Carbon Footprint: A large contributor to the carbon footprint of these bowls is the sourcing of raw materials. We’ve looked for vendors who source their clay locally to reduce the transportation energy cost which is included in our CO2 calculations. We also prioritize brands that use a single-firing process.
Durability: Unless broken, ceramics can last practically forever, which is why pottery is a common archaeological find from ancient times.
Circularity: Ceramics are both recyclable and biodegradable, but they can take a long time to decompose, especially if it is glazed. While recyclable, many recycling centers do not have the equipment needed to recycle ceramics.
Overall Environmental Impact: Irresponsible clay mining can contribute to deforestation, erosion, and other ecological and agricultural imbalances. Everlastly has found vendors who responsibly source their clay and ensure their glazes are lead-free and California’s Proposition 65 compliant, so they are safe for you and your family to enjoy.
Price: Compared to other sustainable options, glass is the cheapest material to produce, especially if it's made from recycled material. This makes it an affordable alternative to ceramic, with many of the same benefits.
Carbon Footprint: A 50 percent recycle rate would remove 2.2 million metric tons of CO2 from the environment.
Durability: Like ceramics, glassware is extremely durable when properly cared for.
Circularity: Glass production uses more sand each year than what is replenished by the Earth’s ecosystems, so we prioritize recycled and untreated glass to promote circularity.
Overall Environmental Impact: Sand is mostly harvested from riverbeds and seabeds, which can disrupt the ecosystem, especially because the microorganisms that live in the sand are often at the base of the food chain. When sand is removed from the seabed it leaves shore communities open to more flooding and erosion.
Price: Copper bowls may be on the pricier side, but for the amateur pâtissier looking to level up their homemade creations, there’s no better choice. We consider these specialty bowls ideal for the avid home baker.
Carbon Footprint: The energy required to mine copper is a major contributor to its high carbon footprint and environmental impact, but by using recycled copper you can reduce the energy needed by 20%. The overall carbon footprint varies drastically depending on the material source and whether the product was manufactured by hand.
Durability: Copper is very durable when cared for properly. Using copper in moist settings can lead to the formation of a greenish patina, which is formed by free copper ions oxidizing to protect the metal. This coating can, surprisingly, be removed with Coca-Cola. Someone should tell the Statue of Liberty about this hack!
Circularity: Copper is completely recyclable, with more than 30 percent of the world’s annual copper demand currently being met through recycling
Overall Environmental Impact: The mining of copper is extremely strenuous on local ecosystems. The water contamination and acidification from copper mining affect both aquatic life and wildlife.
Price: Bioplastics are typically wallet-friendly, but they won’t last anywhere near as long as other materials on this list, which means replacement costs can add up over time.
Carbon Footprint: Bamboo plastic, which is generally seen as the better alternative to corn plastic, is usually either carbon neutral or even net positive. Bamboo can even sequester 35% more carbon than a tree of equivalent mass.
Durability: Today’s bioplastics struggle with durability because the same qualities that make them biodegradable also shorten their lifespans. We highly recommend you hand-wash bioplastics as exposure to water and high temperature from dishwashers can break them down more quickly
Circularity: Bioplastics count biodegradability among their greatest strengths–however, they are not compostable in your backyard pile! They require industrial-grade composting processes to break down safely. Although they decompose in landfill conditions, untreated, they release greenhouse gasses even stronger than carbon dioxide!
Overall Environmental Impact: Because they generally depend on conventional agriculture, bioplastics are responsible for environmental issues such as pesticide and fertilizer use, habitat loss, soil degradation, genetic modification, and deforestation.
Price: Plastics may be cheap, but in the long run they may end up costing more as they need to be replaced more often.
Carbon Footprint: Because they’re made from fossil fuels which inherently come with high emissions, the carbon footprint of plastics is much larger than any other material on our list.
Durability: While plastic may be flexible and shatterproof, it’s prone to scratching and won’t last nearly as long as other options like metal.
Circularity: Plastic can only be downcycled, meaning the quality degrades when recycled. At best, plastics can only be recycled one to two times, and our recycling systems can only process about 10% of all plastics.
Overall Environmental Impact: Plastic comes with all the same environmental concerns as crude oil, including dangerous emissions, pollution and destruction of land and marine ecosystems through drilling. There is also a risk of oil spills, which contaminate soil and water and may cause horrendous fires and explosions.
Knowledge is Power
It’s not always easy to make sustainable choices, but we hope we’ve helped you find the perfect mixing bowl for your lifestyle and values. And guess what? Everything you’ve learned can help you make better choices when picking out other products for your kitchen and your entire home.
We’ve worked hard to find the best alternatives to plastic mixing bowls, so you can rest assured that whatever choice you make you’ll be treading lighter and bringing a quality product into your life.
Everlastly connects you with sustainable products to help you create an eco-friendly wedding registry. Every product we carry has been independently researched, and rated for quality and sustainability with our Evergrade index. Any items that don’t meet our high standards simply don’t make the cut, so you can feel good about every choice you make.
When you register Everlastly, you can be confident that you’ll receive responsibly made gifts that will last for years to come.