You probably feel a twinge of guilt when you throw away paper plates. They make fast family dinners easier, and they're perfect for backyard barbecues. Still, you pause before you dump them in the trash. There's a wonderful green solution to this problem. Palm leaf plates have been around for centuries, and they're a natural alternative to paper.
A Simple Harvest
The stately Areca palm is a towering beauty that flourishes throughout Asia and the tropical Pacific. It's also called the Betel palm, and it's a popular choice for dramatic indoor landscaping. The hardy tree grows to heights of more than 20 feet making it a favorite decorating choice for interiors with high ceilings. However, this palm has been a source of tableware for as long as its leaves have fallen to the ground. The fronds are air dried, stretched and flattened by hand. A heated press molds the shapes, and just one leaf produces many plates.
The Environmental Advantage
They may seem exotic, but palm leaf plates are easily available. Their popularity has grown with environmental awareness, and they're an eco-friendly substitute for the guilt-inducing paper variety. The leaves are harvested after they've fallen from the tree, so they're a valuable part of recycling even before they begin their new lives on your family's table. It's easy to enjoy this dinnerware with a green conscience.
- The plates are made from a renewable source.
- Their production doesn't contribute to deforestation.
- The manufacturing process is simple and non-polluting.
- Their natural composition makes them completely biodegradable.
An Elegant Table
While the green advantages are clear, these plates are simply beautiful on the table. Each one is as individual as the leaf that produced it. The wood grain patterns range from soft, creamy shades to striking variegated markings. You can easily put together a set for parties with diminutive hors d'oeuvre trays and generous serving dishes. Bowls are available too, and the dinner plates come in a variety of shapes. This unique tableware is durable enough for washing and using again; however, this isn't recommended if it's been used to serve meat or poultry.
Palm leaf plates are beautiful enough to grace a sit-down dinner and green enough for everyday use. If you still feel guilty about throwing them away, make them a part of your garden compost. However you dispose of them, you know that when you set the table with these plates, you're setting an example for a greener planet.