Coconuts, palm oil, frozen drinks, and tropical beach vacations that tickle our fancy come to mind when we think of palm trees. For centuries humans have discovered many ways to use the palm plant: shelters, baskets, furniture, religious significance, medicine, wine and now--elegant dinnerware. Maybe not widely known just yet, but with an ever changing food service industry always looking for new ways to enhance food presentation, it’s only a matter of time. Here’s 4 reasons why you should consider using palm leaf plates in your operation and stay ahead of the culinary trends.
So, is this one of those things that we [people] completely exploit and chop down every palm tree in the world just to serve another hor d'oeuvre? Not this time. There is absolutely no damage done to the tree or the environment when sourcing palm leaves. That is why palm leaf plates are sustainable and support a eco-friendly lifestyle.
The palm leaves are collected after they have fallen naturally to the earth. According to Mitti, a supplier of palm leaf dinnerware, “The leaves are collected, washed in clean water, then dried in sunlight. After that, they are steam pressed into plates, bowls, trays, cups and food containers.” Mitti also makes note that each tree drops about 10 to 15 palm leaves a year. (It is unclear what type of palm leaf is used but there are 2600 types of Arecaceae, which is the botanical family of the palm plant.)
Not only are they made from trees, but palm leaf dinnerware are also compostable. This means that the product will break down within 90 days in an industrial composting facility that accelerates natural elements to degrade an item without leaving behind any toxic residues. Composted material becomes a thriving habitat for all types of organisms and is used as an organic nutrient rich plant food.
There are no extra chemicals, glues, dyes, toxins, or other additives that prevent a palm leaf plate from breaking down. A palm leaf plate is simply formed using water, pressure, and heat and is disposable after use.
Mitti’s dinnerware is BPI-certified, which means that the products have been rigorously tested and they “will biodegrade completely and safely when composted in a large facility, leaving no residues.”
Products that follow the disposable compostable path, also reduce waste in landfills. According to One Green Planet, “ Modern waste management methods are environmental tragedies. Waste lies stagnant in landfill sites where the vital oxygen that is needed to facilitate the decaying process cannot reach it. Landfill material also releases greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change: methane gas escapes during the building process. Incineration leaves some toxic ash waste, and the burning process releases a vast amount of carbon dioxide into our precious atmosphere.”
Mitti’s palm leaf products are quite sturdy. The products do not loose shape when hot liquids or hot foods are added unlike bamboo alternatives. The palm leaf dinnerware can be put in a microwave on high heat for up to 2 minutes. They can also be put in an oven for up to 45 minutes at 350 degrees, which is contrast to bagasse, plastic, or bamboo that should not be used in the oven.
“Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.” - Michael Porter
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” - Coco Chanel
Ok so this may be a little deep for an article on palm leaf dinnerware but if you are still undecided it is worth mentioning - be different. It’s not easy to stand out from the crowd when you are a caterer competing against all of the other small companies, restaurants, grocery stores, and individuals. Using products that are a bit off of the beaten path may work wonders for you and will get people talking.
Besides, palm leaf plates have that quality eco-friendly look that will make almost any event appear to have a natural, Earth friendly vibe.Palm leaf plates are a solid choice if you are in the market for disposable sturdy elegant compostable dinnerware that has a positive impact on the environment.