Last month, I reviewed the latest sustainable foodservice products and to-go containers available for grocery stores, delis and restaurants. In this month’s post, I’d like to review the solutions available to caterers, event planners and party & wedding hosts who want to ensure their event minimizes the use of the planet’s scarce resources.
It wasn’t too long ago that heavy-duty paper plates were considered the best option for saying “I care” when catering an outdoor event or informal party. Of course, they’re still available and are fine if you want to ensure your trash stream is biodegradable. But, as single-use dinnerware goes, they’re not particularly chic. In fact, until now it’s been hard to locate truly upscale, elegant sustainable or bio-based replacements to fossil-based plastic plates and cutlery.
So, if you were starting from scratch and defining the specifications of bio-based plates and dinnerware, what would write down? How about this list:
- Non-toxic — no chemicals, plastics, glues, lacquers or laminates
- Durable yet lightweight
- Can hold hot or cold foods and liquids
- No heat transference
- Maintains shape when in contact with hot substances
- Microwave-safe up to 2 minutes on high
- Oven-safe for up to 45 minutes at 350 degrees
- Refrigerator- and freezer-safe
- BPI and ASTM D6400 certified for compostability
- Fully home compostable, naturally returning to earth in 2 months (using 90% less energy than recycling)
Can any bio-based material deliver all this? Yes! And, guess what, it’s made from leaves. Most bio-based and sustainable dinnerware is made from a combination of sugarcane (bagasse), reed, bamboo, tree or wheat fiber. It is generally environmentally friendly, but it just doesn’t make the grade in the aesthetics department. Often, it just looks utilitarian. Contrast that with VerTerra™ dinnerware, which is made only from two products: fallen leaves and water.
VerTerra™ plates and bowls are non-toxic, biodegradable, compostable, durable, lightweight, convenient and downright stylish. Thoughtfully and beautifully designed, VerTerra™ dinnerware adds a chic touch of nature to any table, minus any plastics, glues, lacquers, laminates or toxins that can leach into foods. Better still, it performs like any other traditional single-use product.
Now add Eco-gecko cutlery to the place setting and you have a stunning way to present catered delicacies. Eco-gecko biodegradable and compostable wooden cutlery is made from FSC-certified birch wood that is taken from re-harvested plantation forests. This means that only as much wood is harvested as can grow back in the same time. And, unlike the oil used in plastic cutlery, which takes the earth millions of years to produce, the re-planting and re-harvesting of birch trees is sustainable.
VerTerra™ leaf plates combined with Eco-gecko wooden cutlery create the most elegant, refined and attractive bio-based and sustainable table setting in the single-use dinnerware marketplace. I think they’re a natural fit for upscale catered events and weddings, and they warrant serious consideration by caterers, event planners and private party hosts who want to make a lasting impression with their guests. It’s worth noting that, while these items are technically disposable — they are, after all, completely compostable — they are almost too nice to throw away, so why not re-use them?