FoodReference.com (since 1999)
Food Articles, News & Features Section
HOME | ARTICLES | FOOD TRIVIA | TODAY in FOOD HISTORY | FOOD TIMELINE | RECIPES
COOKING TIPS | VIDEOS | FOOD QUOTES | WHO'S WHO | FOOD TRIVIA QUIZZES
FOOD POEMS | RECIPE CONTESTS | CULINARY SCHOOLS | FOOD TOURS | FOOD FESTIVALS
Dear EarthTalk: Are there sources for disposable cups, plates, napkins and dinnerware that are more eco-friendly than others?
-- Charles Phillips, New York, NY
Disposable dishware is ubiquitous in our modern “on-the-go” culture. That’s why nearly 100 billion plastic, paper and Styrofoam cups end up in American landfills and incinerators every year. Human health is the real loser when it comes to our consumption of such products, which are typically made from petroleum-based plastics, hazardous foam or chlorine-bleached virgin paper.
For the eco-conscious who enjoy entertaining large groups but don’t want to wash dishes, compostable dishware might be just the ticket. California-based Sinless Buying makes a wide range of compostable dinnerware--from dishes and cups to cafeteria-style trays and soup bowls--out of “Bagasse,” a fully biodegradable organic sugar cane fiber. Unlike their traditional plastic counterparts, once such dinnerware has served its purpose it can simply be tossed in with the backyard or garden compost. Sinless Buying also offers unbleached versions of some of its products.
Another California company, Cereplast, makes its highly regarded Nat-Ur line of compostable cups, plates, utensils, straws and even trash bags out of a plastic-like substance made from biodegradable corn byproducts, also completely biodegradable and compostable.
Meanwhile, Montana’s Treecycle, best known for its wide variety of recycled papers, now also manufactures biodegradable plates, cups, bowls and trays made from sugar cane byproducts, as well as disposable cutlery made from 100 percent compostable wheat wastes. All Treecycle dinnerware can be machine washed and re-used several times before composting.
A new entrant on the retail side of compostable dinnerware is EarthShell, which makes a wide range of compostable plates, cups, cutlery and food storage containers from fully biodegradable renewable materials like limestone and starch. The company has been supplying food service giants like SYSCO and McDonald’s for years, and now sells direct to consumers under the ReNewable Products brand name, available at Smart & Final stores in the West and at Schnucks in the Midwest.
Problems with plastic, paper and Styrofoam waste will undoubtedly continue to grow despite such positive trends and because landfills are filling up fast and taking up space that could be better put to use. But some state and local governments are taking action. Kentucky, New Jersey and California have passed bills that limit the sale of disposable plastic products, and thousands of municipalities coast to coast have increased their capacities for recycling and composting in recent years.
CONTACTS: Sinless Buying, www.sinlessbuying.com; Nat-UR Store, www.nat-urstore.com; Treecycle, www.treecycle.com; EarthShell, www.earthshell.com
GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881 USA; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/; or e-mail: [email protected] . Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php
Please feel free to link to any pages of FoodReference.com from your website.
For permission to use any of this content please E-mail: [email protected]
All contents are copyright © 1990 - 2017 James T. Ehler and www.FoodReference.com unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. You may copy and use portions of this website for non-commercial, personal use only.
Any other use of these materials without prior written authorization is not very nice and violates the copyright.
Please take the time to request permission.