The highs and lows in eco-friendly disposable plates and utensils

bambu and bagasse disposable dinnerware at branch

This is the first article of my new eco-chic party and stylish green living column. Stay tuned every Wednesday for more.

Although real dinnerware is the ultimate choice, it is not also possible due to time, group size and money. If you need to use disposable tableware for an event, what are the environment friendly choices out there?

The high version of environment friendly dinnerware

Launched in 2006, the bambu All Occasion Veneerware collection displays contemporary clean lines. The materials are peeled directly from the 100% organically grown bamboo stalk; but really no one gives supplements to one of the fastest growing plants on Earth. bambu is the ultimate in trendy chic right now.

The making of All Occasion Veneerware uses no bleaches or dyes. After disposal, the plates, trays and utensils biodegrades in 4 to 6 months. Bamboo is available at Branch and Greenfeet.com.

The prices are slightly cheaper at Greenfeet.com where you get 2 packaging sizes to cater to small and large events. Choose between the 8 pack and the 100 pack for plates, and the 24 piece kit (8 knives, spoons and forks) or a bag of 250 utensils (single type).

bambu Veneerware trays and sporks are designed for one-time use that may be composted when done. Therefore, you can fully set up your buffet table with environment friendly dinnerware. A spork is a spoon and a fork in a single item.

The low version of environment friendly dinnerware

The top left picture shows plates, oval platters, cups and bowls made of 100% biodegradable, compostable sugar cane fiber (bagasse) that is a byproduct of the sugar refining process. The utensils are made of 80% potato starch and 20% vegetable oil.

Their look is not impressive but they will make you feel good. Unbleached, FDA-approved food-safe that are comparable to Chinet brand plates for sturdiness. You can buy those Biodegradable Plates, Cups + Utensils in pack of 50 units at Branch.

Spread the words

If you use environmentally friendly products at an event, do not be shy to nicely highlight the facts at the event. Write down in chalk compostable, environment friendly and fair trade on small slate coasters. Decorative place card holders are another option. But do not forget to spread the words, so people become aware of the alternatives.

Learn more: Web site of bambu
Buy online: bambu All Occasion Veneerware at Greenfeet – starting at $ 5.50 for 8 salad / dessert plates
or $65.95 for 100
Buy online: Biodegradable Plates, Cups + Utensils at Branch – starting at $6.50 for 50 salad / dessert plates

+ Recyclable and disposable Social Plates for all drinks

  • Benny Boy
    October 18, 2007 at 09:22

    Great post. With the trend of people doing more last minute get togethers, good to know that we don’t have to sacrifice some semblance of style AND eco-stewardship in the interest of actually sharing time with friends after inviting them over!

    Have you seen Chinet casuals (I think that’s what they’re called)? I think they’re more “casual” in that they have some design and colors. Do you know if those hold up to Chinet’s Green standards?

    Again, great post.

  • planning forever events
    October 18, 2007 at 13:34

    Thanks for visiting my site!

    This post is fabulous…love the look of the disposable but eco-friendly plates!

  • susan
    October 19, 2007 at 04:56

    Very interesting post. I just went to an event this week which used bamboo plates. They look absolutely fantastic. Thanks for the sources for these.

  • At Home with kim vallee
    October 20, 2007 at 11:15

    To answer to Benny Boy, the Bambo are definitely greener than Chinet Casuals.

    For the low version, my feelings are mixed. I would need an expert option that look at the overall process. The Web site of Chinet is quiet on their manufacturing techniques. I guess that the one I showed you are greener.

    It is a question agriculture growth versus recycling paper, why one is better? Chinet Casuals used recycled paper from bleached paper and they probably bleach it again during the recycling process. Otherwise it would not be so white. If Chinet was using a green option to whiter their plates, they would spotlight the fact on their Web site.

  • At Home with kim vallee
    October 20, 2007 at 11:17

    Susan: I am glad to hear the opinion of someone that actually tried it.

  • Ashley Sue
    November 10, 2007 at 13:27

    A few days ago, some colleagues and I were talking about the tragedy of disposable foodware in America. On guy said he had heard of plates made of sugar and potato starch and how funny it would be to eat your plate after you had your dinner!

    How funny that two days later, I found your EXCELLENT post on the various eco-friendly foodware that we can get!

    Thank you for the info, Kim!

  • At Home with Kim Vallee
    April 8, 2008 at 02:16

    Eco-Chic Party Essentials

  • jenna
    November 19, 2008 at 12:33

    Chinet Classic White and Chinet Casuals are both “green” options when shopping for disposable tableware. Chlorine bleach is not used during the manufacturing process.

  • Amber
    December 23, 2008 at 15:02

    You make some great points on catering events Kim .

    I agree with Peter – palm disposables are so much more environmentally friendly – and much safer for our use.

    Verterra has this great line of palm plates, bowls and trays – they are made from fallen palm leaves – so it is an even better choice. Plus you can bake with them!

    I wrote a post and included a chart which compares all the available eco-friendly materials (sugar cane, corn, recycled paper etc) and their performance.Plus I went into detail about Verterra’s Whole line: http://abstract2collective.blogspot.com/2008/12/on-verterra-can-your-eco-friendly.html , You should have a read.

    It is so great that their is a growing market of sustainable, eco-friendly products!