While the pandemic has, in general, made us appreciate the slow life more and understand the importance of sustainability on a first-hand basis, it was an Instagram share on a work group about using upcycled coconuts as kitchenware that led us to deep dive into sustainable and eco-friendly kitchenware. And that's how I got talking to Maria Kuriakose, founder of Thenga, a sustainable lifestyle start-up, who told me about her returning to her native village in Kerala in a bid to promote sustainable living while providing livelihoods to local artisans.
Kuriakose's brand, Thenga, is new and has a unique and refreshing approach towards sustainability, where they put otherwise discarded coconut shells to use by turning them into kitchenware. "Coconut shells are a sustainable, practical and durable alternative to plastic, especially when it comes to kitchenware. It decomposes easily and unlike steel and plastic ware, it can be conveniently broken into smaller parts and mixed with soil," she explains. Through her venture, not only has she created an eco-friendly module, but has also simultaneously provided regular work to local and indigenous artisans, who were making ends meet through odd jobs.
Thenga, however, isn't the only kitchenware brand to have taken a step in this direction, and the Indian market is beginning to be dotted by several homegrown undertakings that celebrate sustainability. We handpicked a few of our favourites so you can rebuild your kitchen more conscientiously, while also keeping things classy. Take a look.
The Indus Valley
Neem wood glasses and ladles, copper and terracotta bottles and cast iron pans—Indus Valley will remind you of your grandma's kitchen collection. The brainchild of Mumbai-based husband-wife duo Jagadeesh Kumar and Madhumitha Udaykumar, Indus Valley focuses on creating natural cookware that is not only heat-resistant but also non-toxic.
Founded by Mansukhbhai Prajapati, a traditional Gujarati clay craftsman, the kitchenware at Mitti Cool is made with mineral-enriched mud without additives. Keeping in mind the cooling properties of terracotta, they create everything from utensils to tableware with the aim of highlighting the benefits of using clay products.
Ellementry has a sustainable approach towards design, when it comes to all its creations. Every item is crafted keeping in mind that they are safe to serve and cook food in. The brand's terracotta collection has everything from water bottles, jugs, tumblers, curd-setters to roti boxes, besides a new serveware, drinkware and bakeware collection too.
Bringing eco-friendly and natural kitchenware to Indian households, co-founders Sangeeta Sharma and Rajeev Agarwal use cookware as a way to combat mineral deficiency in the body in modern times. Rustik Craft's range is reminiscent of the golden days when cast-iron utensils and copper vessels would rule the roots. They offer everything from ornamental cookware to serving platters and trays and drinkware, too.
Essential Traditions by Kayal
Co-founded by Kayal Vizhi Sriram and Shriram Narayanan who run an organic food store in Chennai, Essentials Traditionals By Kayal focuses on nudging home chefs and cooks across the country to go back to their roots. With the hope of encouraging people to cook using traditional kitchenware, such as clay pots, brass ladles and grinding slabs made of soapstone, they create products that aren't only environment-friendly but also, carrying properties that enable them to lend flavour to the food you're cooking in them. Check them out for eco-friendly cleaning accessories like, coconut fibre scrubbers and chemical-free detergent powder.
A Coimbatore-based kitchenware brand, Rock Tawa specialises in cast ironware such as dosa tawas, appam chattis, paniyarakkal, roti tawas and even Dutch ovens. A favourite among food enthusiasts across the country, their bare cast iron pans are made out of a single piece of iron, including the handle and are pre-seasoned (coated in vegetable oil) to hinder rust formation, making them amenable for immediate use.
Working towards the promotion and preservation of handcrafted traditions via design and marketing initiatives, Coppre is a social-venture that works with rural and urban artisans across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. They create stylish cookware and tableware, apart from other decorative items such as wall accents, lights and home accessories.
Devika is not just a food writer, she is a writer with a political science background. She switched her field to pursue her dream of writing. She is up to date with all things travel, food, pop culture, and Instagram. When she is not writing to meet her deadlines, Devika spends most of her time reading, binge-watching Gilmore Girls for the nth time and scrolling through Zara’s newest collection.