Green disposable dinnerware offers guilt-free convenience
Democrat and Chronicle | Jul. 28, 2009 | IN PRINT
Maybe the water heater is broken, or you have a huge crowd coming for a backyard barbecue, or your picnic in the park does not allow for cleanup time afterwards. The bottom line: Even the most environmentally correct of us can't avoid disposable dishware from time to time.
The problem: Traditional paper plates and cups require trees to be cut down to make them. Styrofoam and plastic disposables, both made with petroleum, are not biodegradable and can stay in the environment for generations, releasing toxic substances.
So how do you minimize your green guilt for resorting to convenience by the cup, plate or bowl?
Say hello to single-use plates and cups that are made with biodegradable or renewable materials such as cornstarch, sugar cane, bamboo or potato starch. Some brands are sticking closer to tradition by using recycled paper and recycled plastic.
Here are some eco-friendlier disposable products now on the market.
VerTerra Dinnerware: Perhaps the most stylish of the bunch, these biodegradable, compostable plates are made with fallen palm leaves (no trees have been sacrificed that have been layered and adhered together without toxic glues or bonding agents. They are safe to put in the refrigerator, microwave and oven (up to 45 minutes at 350 degrees), and their manufacturer pays fair wages to workers in South Asia. Eight 10-inch-by-10-inch plates for $7; eight 6-inch-by-6-inch plates for $5.15; eight 7-inch-by-6.5-inch plates for $5.75; eight 8-inch-by-8-inch plates for $6.15 at Lori's Natural Foods, 900 Jefferson Road, Henrietta.) (CARLOS ORTIZ staff photographer)