I live in Sydney. My kitchen has a mishmash of stainless steel products – some I bring from Japan and some I buy from Australia (most of those are probably not made here I’d say). I don’t think anybody checks what kind of stainless steel a dish rack or mixing bowl are made of when you buy them. Do you? I certainly don’t. Even if I may know a bit more than your average consumer since steel is part of my business, I still get “cheated” by products in disguise. You only realise that some are better than others after a time. I took this photo as it shows my point; not all stainless steels are the same and kitchen products should not be made with low grade stainless steel that rust so easily. How long did I use these? Maybe 10 years. The main dish rack is from here in Sydney and I bought the attachments in Japan because they looked handy. The dish rack started to show signs of rust after a few years. while Japanese stainless steel attachments are still going strong. I cleaned the rack more than a few times in the past (I don’t throw away that easily) but got sick of it so I decided to say goodbye (remember, metal can be recycled!).
Stainless Steels are not all the same
Did you know there are over 100 different types of stainless steels? In Japan, that is just how many JIS (Japan Industrial Standards) certifies, so technically there are lots more. You need many different types of stainless steels to suit many different uses. Look around you, stainless steels are everywhere. Escalators, mobile phones, cars and bridges and even in space. So what defines stainless steel? Stainless steels are steels that contain at least 10.5% chromium, less than 1.2% carbon. Then you add other types of metals and elements to make it more corrosion resistant or durable etc. Some materials are more expensive than others or much harder to process. Our Kasane knives, for example, is made of AUS-08. It contains vanadium which makes steel tough. You will find this metal in things like space vehicles, nuclear reactors and aircraft carriers. AUS-08 also contains Molybdenum which is an important additive to improve corrosion resistance.
Coming back to my kitchen. I strongly believe your quality kitchen products shouldn’t rust like. Because these products are always going to be wet. Because it means that those were made with the wrong steel and manufacturers didn’t care. They made them look OK just so you buy them. I felt cheated as I try to be a consumer with more conscience for sustainability. I want what I buy to be made with more care and to last longer. There is something we can all do to be more sustainable as well as to avoid getting disappointed, apart from being a metal head. We can all choose where we shop. Where you know your goods are made with pride and care and have a certain quality.