Making Your Own Eco-friendly Popcorn

February 18th, 2010

The sheer volume and variety of microwave popcorn available in grocery stores tells me just how popular the stuff is. Have you thought about how wasteful it is?

The typical microwave popcorn is sold in a cardboard box with each bag of popcorn wrapped in an outer layer of plastic. That’s seven packaging items for three bags of popcorn. And, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never managed to make a bag of microwave popcorn without a lot of unpopped kernels. Aside from the waste factor, the stuff just isn’t good for you. That chemical coating on the inside of the bag and artificial flavors in the corn aren’t very desirable for healthy, green living.


Break your microwave popcorn habit. First buy some good kernels, then explore your popping options.

In the microwave

You can still pop your corn in the microwave without buying those packages in the store. One option is to use a brown paper bag instead. Of course, you still have to use a disposable product with that choice.

Nordic Ware sells microwave poppers made of gemstone (BPA-free plastic). Reviewers at amazon have been raving about these poppers, which are basically big microwave-safe bowls with a cover. Other companies make similar products, but make sure you’re not using plastic with BPA, since leaching may be a concern.

The old-fashioned way… (Still the greenest option)

No new equipment is needed if you pop your corn on the stove top. Just grab a large saucepan with a handle and lid, plus some oil, and start popping.

With a fancy popcorn popper

If you’re uneasy popping your corn on the stove top, or if you’re just an extra-big popcorn fanatic, then you might like a popcorn maker. However, it’s not exactly a multi-tasker. It will take up a lot of room in your kitchen, but it’s still a better option over buying microwave popcorn at the store. Yet, you may still have to contend with the nonstick, chemical-laden coatings on some of these machines.

How do you pop your popcorn?