Guilt-Free Disposable Dinnerware
Guilt-Free Disposable Dinnerware
Hartford Courant. | Nov. 28, 2008 | IN PRINT


Cool plates, my kids said, as I served them dinner one recent evening. So they were astounded at the end of the meal when I threw them away.

I was just following the manufacturer's instructions. And being good to the Earth, too.

The dinnerware we used comes from VerTerra, and each piece is made from 100 percent renewable and compostable material, which the company says will biodegrade naturally in about two months.

I admit, I'm in love with this product.

In the summer especially, we do quite a bit of outdoor dining, and with little guilt, my picnic basket was packed this year with stacks of paper plates, paper towels and plastic silverware. If the only choice is between paper plates and lugging around dishes that then need to be washed at home, paper wins every time.

Until now.

The VerTerra dinnerware collection includes plates, bowls, cups and serving platters, and all are free of chemicals, waxes, dyes and toxins. VerTerra says the products are made by collecting only fallen leaves, and then applying heat and pressure to transform the leaves into the dinnerware.

The texture of this product is unusual at first — it's rugged and feels almost like thin bamboo. Lean in close, and you can smell a sightly woody scent.

But it's that strangeness that is so attractive. The thickness of the plates gives no hint that this is a disposable product. I'm tempted to use these at my next dinner party and see who can tell I'm using plates that I'll throw away when the night is over. My guess is no one would know the difference.

Prices for the dinnerware are higher than traditional paper plates. A package of eight 6-inch-square plates costs $5.49, and eight dinner sized plates are $6.99. They can be reused, and they also are microwave-, refrigerator- and oven-safe. To order online, go to