|Pressed Leaf Plates by VerTerra Dinnerware
TreeHugger.com | Mar. 15, 2008 | FROM THE WEB
Intrigued by the possibility of single-use tableware made exclusively of pressed, organic fallen leaves (no colors, no binders, and no coating or stabilizers added), we asked Micheal of VerTerra to share some product table-top shots with us. We'll intersperse them with a few text snippets.
Our entire process is run in concert with nature, which is why we use fallen leaves, and recapture over 80% of the water that we use. Our products are fine for use in a microwave, oven or freezer and bio-degrade in as little as 6 weeks, and they are fully compostable (a much higher standard than biodegradable).
The plates can be hand washed NOT machine washed and reused. Some customers have used them over a dozen times, I personally ate off the same plate 3 meals a day for a week, you just have to make sure the plate is dry. If it is just crackers you could jut keep using it. Things like tomato sauce, beets and the like will discolor the product ,...
The leaves are collected from plantations by the owners, traditionally the leaves were burned on the road side. Instead of burning them we thought it better to utilize them so we got permission to pick them up from the plantation owners and started truck (or cart) routes. We bring the fallen leaves to our factory where they are sprayed with high pressure water, steamed and UV sterilized. They then go through a 16 step proprietary process which solely involves steam, heat, cooling and time. They are then put through presses where we press multiple types of leaves and dry them to form the material which is then finally formed into the VerTerra suite of products. Once the products are formed they are UV treated a second time to dry and sterilize them. At no point are any chemicals, liquors, glues, bonding agents, or the like used. As I like to say, the only chemicals we buy are soap for the restroom and and detergents for cleaning the floor.
All items are put in recycled plastic shrink wrap for hygienic reasons. I wish there was a way around that use of plastic but it is a necessity. There are no other heat and water stable materials that will ensure that my customers get the product in a sanitary condition, but I happily will entertain suggestions.
The only complaint that I have gotten in 9 months of selling is that people feel bad throwing them away since they feel so sturdy and look so attractive.
Lovely. Unit cost ranges, very roughly, from fifty cents to a buck each, depending on shape and number purchased. These would be excellent for special occasions like Thanksgiving or a fall wedding...certainly appropriate for serving appetizers and snacks.
How many mothers-in-law have been caught in the act of wiping or washing "single use" table ware? No need to feel sheepish about doing these.