Throwaway cups and plates were once summer must-haves. But since we woke up to sustainability, disposable items have become a no-no. In India and other Asian nations though, disposable has always been the norm. And it was never linked to plastic. If you’re anything like me, the idea of summer has you conjuring up images of picnics, festivals and barbecues. Leave the washing up and bag yourself some eco-friendly disposable plates.
Suman Santosh Gandhi is from India. She and her husband grew up eating out of banana leaves. “Everything goes back to nature that way,” she says. Living in the UK, they saw a gap in the market. They started making compostable plates and cutlery, inspired by those in their home country.
The couple’s company, Disposable Green, makes Arica palm leaf plates, but they don’t cut down trees to do it. Local people in India collect the fallen leaves. And the leaves are then heat-pressed and molded into plates. “The whole range is home compostable,” says Suman. “And we don’t believe in bleaching. They look beautiful the way they are”.
Plates and other stuff
Disposable Green doesn’t only stock plates. You can find biodegradable dinnerware, eco cutlery and even platters. As well as Areca leaf, Disposable Green sells products made from bagasse (sugarcane fibre). The From Nature, Back to Nature straws are made from fallen coconut leaves. And the NEXTGEN coffee cups have a water-based lining, making them entirely home compostable.
The difference between compostable and home compostable
Not everyone knows this. But there is a difference between compostable and home compostable. If you’re looking for eco-friendly disposable products, always choose home compostable ones.
Compostable items are simply those you can place in your recycling bin. They usually have an inner lining that someone needs to separate before they will biodegrade. That means they are only compostable in a commercial composting facility. And whether they get to such a place will depend on the services in your area.
Home compostable items are those you can compost at home. Disposable Green’s home compostable coffee cups will go back to nature within six months on your compost pile. And the Areca leaf plates are even better, biodegrading within six to eight weeks.
According to the 2021 Global Buying Green report, over half of consumers consider sustainable packaging when shopping. And 67% claim to be environmentally aware. But washing up is hard on your holidays. Forgive yourself for wanting to cut some corners. And bag yourself some eco-friendly disposable plates this summer.