Do you know the difference between American flatware companies/brands and flatware made in America? The vast majority of American flatware brands do not manufacture their products on American soil. In fact, all of them, with the exception of Liberty Tabletop, produce their products in countries such as China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India where costs are significantly lower than here, but what are the costs to the environment, to the people in those foreign factories, and to ourselves?
We often worry about the quality of the food we are putting into our mouths, but how often do we stop to think about the tool we are using to get the food from the plate to our taste buds? It is a fact that stainless flatware not made in China, but made in the USA, is safer for the consumer, more ethically produced and better for the environment. This article will tell you a little more about why you should avoid made in China or other low wage countries and instead, think about made in America.
Is Flatware Made in China Safe?
The answer is not always, and here is why. Flatware is made from stainless steel which is manufactured from scrap iron and certain other alloying elements. World class steel mills test their “melts” in accordance with international standards to ensure that there are no residual elements such as lead, mercury, cadmium etc… They also check their scrap iron for radioactivity and other issues that could cause serious health issues. While all steel mills in the United States follow these rigorous practices not all steel mills in Asia and India do. The second issue to worry about is the chemicals used in the manufacturing and finishing processes. Many Chinese factories still use Trichloroethylene or TCE, a known carcinogenic cleaning agent. TCE is used to give the finished product a clean gleaming look to it at the point of purchase. Any made in China flatware should be washed thoroughly, or better yet, avoided entirely.
What is the Environmental Impact of Chinese Flatware?
There are vast differences between the environmental impact of Chinese made flatware and American made flatware. Factories throughout the word are primarily powered by electricity. The main source of electric power in China is coal burning power plants. The result is the stunning pictures you can see on the internet and on the news of catastrophic pollution issues affecting major Chinese cities. The impact on mother earth does not end there. In China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia environmental standards are often lax and not enforced even when they do exist. In addition to frightening levels of air pollution, factories often use chemicals such as TEC which can cause harm to workers as well as contaminate ground water, rivers and eventually the water supply. Finally, there is the impact of transportation. Chinese made products need to be shipped to the USA, covering over 8,000 miles by container ship. Each ship consumes up to 350 tons of fuel a day and over a year, this equates to the output of 50,000,000 cars. Liberty Tabletop flatware, by contrast, covers a maximum of 1,370 miles and arrives at your door via USPS or UPS
Does China Have Good Labor Laws?
In a word, no. Every country has different types of labor laws. Those found in Western and Northern Europe are some of the toughest in the world. In America, there are also strong labor laws designed to pay fair wages, protect worker safety and combat exploitation. In China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia, where most flatware is made, as in the case with environmental regulation, labor laws are less stringent and often not enforced. . Health and safety regulations, put in place to avoid exposure to toxic materials during the manufacturing process often do not exist and, as noted above, many dangerous chemicals such as TCE are still used. Proper air extraction to remove dust and metal particles from the air inside factories are rarely installed. This puts workers at direct risk of life changing or life ending health issues due to exposure to carcinogenic and toxic materials which vastly shorten lifespans and leave employees with significant health issues during their lives.
Where is Liberty Tabletop’s Flatware Made?
All flatware patterns sold by Liberty Tabletop are 100% manufactured by Sherrill Manufacturing in Sherrill, New York. Liberty Tabletop flatware is made in America following all county, state and federal labor laws, environmental regulations. Liberty Tabletop and Sherrill Manufacturing have never and will never use substances like TCE. Liberty Tabletop only sells 18/10 high quality stainless steel sourced from U.S. steel mills with a recycling rate of 85% or greater. Our factory is powered by hydro-electric energy from the Niagara Falls. Furthermore, Liberty treats its employees as part of the family, dedicating time and effort to make sure the team not only works effectively, but is both properly rewarded and looked after. This is why the whole company is proud to produce the best quality American flatware.