Longtime cutting board maker moves into post-consumer recycled plastics

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Kerri Jansen Epicurean makes its post-consumer HDPE cutting boards in a variety of colors to draw more consumers.

CHICAGO — A longtime user of wood fiber composite, kitchen accessories maker Epicurean Inc. is now making a push into plastics.

Known for its durable wood fiber cutting boards, the company recently introduced a line of boards made from 100 percent post consumer high density polyethylene, the plastic found in milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles and margarine tubs. Epicurean showcased its Eco Plastic line at the International Home + Housewares Show March 15-18 in Chicago. Launched in 2013, the line really took off with a new collection of colors and shapes introduced early this year, representatives at the show said.

Epicurean’s plastic boards, as well as its wood fiber products, are manufactured in Duluth, Minn. The Eco Plastic line is formed from recycled HDPE that has been extruded into sheets. Primarily post-consumer milk jugs, the material comprises about eight jugs in each pound, the company says. And the whole board can again be recycled at end-of-life.

The Eco Plastic boards are available in a variety of colors, with red, green and white as top sellers, according to company representatives. A black board is made from post-industrial HDPE. The coloring is consistent throughout the boards, which the company says are dishwasher-safe and nonporous.

Epicurean created the line of vividly colored plastic boards in response to market trends, Epicurean CEO Tony Ciardelli wrote in an email.

“Epicurean developed this collection to address the growing focus on colors among both consumers and retail customers,” he wrote. “Developing a line of recycled poly boards allowed us to meet this demand, while continuing to incorporate eco-friendly practices and materials into our products.”

The company has its roots in sustainable manufacturing. Epicurean was founded in 2003 by the owners of TrueRide, a municipal skate park manufacturer, to find a use for excess wood fiber composite from the manufacturing process. Epicurean built a catalog of wood fiber composite cutting boards, utensils and other kitchen accessories made from the unused skate surface material. Sister company Loll Designs manufactures outdoor furniture and garden accessories from recycled HDPE and a third company, Intectural, sells sheets of recycled HDPE board to builders and architects for commercial projects. Adapting the material for Epicurean’s product line was a natural fit, the company said.

“Epicurean has always been dedicated to creating products made from naturally renewable or recycled materials, using sustainable manufacturing processes,” Ciardelli said. “The company decided to move into recycled poly boards to provide consumers with another option in cutting board surfaces and aesthetics, while staying true to Epicurean’s commitment to using natural, environmentally-friendly materials.”