Sustainable Salt

Where does salt come from?

Salt can be obtained from the earth or from naturally occurring saltwater sources.

Solution mining involves digging a well deep into an underground salt deposit, pumping in water to dissolve the salt crystals, and then drawing the brine back up to the surface. The process doesn’t produce much noise, airborne pollutants, or groundwater contamination. (The worst-case scenario would be a cave-in, although that’s highly uncommon.) The processing method – known as vacuum pan refining – is the most costly and energy-intensive way to make salt, but it creates a very pure product that’s nearly 100 percent sodium chloride.

Most of the salt for highway ice removal is instead obtained by physically mining it out of the earth in its mineral form.

sustainable Salt

Salt can also be obtained by solar evaporation, in which seawater (or briny or ultra-saline lake water) is pumped into a series of large, shallow ponds and left to evaporate naturally.

What is the healthiest salt in the world?

The healthiest types of salt are those which are the least refined, with no added preservatives. Himalayan salt is reported to be the healthiest and purist salt in the world.

Is Himalayan Salt sustainable?

Unlike salt that is produced by solar evaporation, Himalayan Rock Salt is mined from the Khewra salt mine in Pakistan. It involves conventional mining methods and is from a finite -that is to say a non-renewable – resource. 

What Is The Most Sustainable Salt?

Some methods of salt production are better for the planet than others!

The most sustainable source of salt is salt that is produced by solar evaporation from seawater or briny lake water, as they are extracted from a renewable resource. This process is very slow – it can take years – but it requires very little fossil-fuel input and has a low impact on the environment. 

Is sea salt production bad for the environment?

Even with the most sustainable method of salt production, that is to say solar evaporation, large-scale sea salt production operations can cause wildlife issues, as briny ponds can provide sanctuary for certain wetland species, like flamingos and other birds. The concentrated liquid that remains after the solar evaporation process – known as bitterns – can be harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms. 

However most gourmet sea salts are harvested from the evaporation ponds – sometimes with hand tools – and then treated very minimally before they’re packaged and sold. 

Friend of the Sea has developed a blueprint for salt sustainability – that is to say a series of standards for Sustainable Sea Salt production and it is in the process of developing standards for Sustainable Salt from solution mining.

The Standard for Sustainable Salt

Friend of the Sea criteria for sustainable Salt require:

Apply to our Sustainable Salt Certification

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