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The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Dinnerware From Fallen Leaves

The Green Dilemma: You've got company coming and you don't have enough dishes to serve the crowd (not to mention the no-fun task of washing up afterwards). What's the green host to do? Wow your guests with dinnerware made from fallen leaves by VerTerra. I saw these first used at a huge meeting at Whole Foods Market headquarters. I simply couldn't believe these beautiful bowls and plates were made from fallen leaves, a "waste product," and were fully compostable. I had a hard time putting them in the compost bin! VerTerra was founded on the belief that it's possible to combine high design with the highest standards of environmental responsibility. Using only fallen palm leaves and water to create this line of certified compostable single-use dinnerware, they've accomplished just that. It all starts on farms of palm trees grown for food and medicinal purposes. The leaves shed year-round and are one of the Earth's largest natural waste products. Seen as a hindrance to the nourishment of their trees, the farmers remove the leaves, pour gasoline on them and burn them. That's where VerTerra comes in. The fallen leaves are collected, cleaned and pressed into a beautiful renewable plate, bowl or tray. The entire steam, heat and pressure process uses just 10% of the energy that standard recycled paper plates require, and over 80% of the water is recaptured and reused. No leaves are ever thrown away in the production process, either. Scraps are powdered down to usable fertilizer and returned to the farmers who supply the leaves. So that's it. No trees are harvested or cut. No glues or dyes. Just leaves and water. VerTerra truly is an authentic eco-friendly line. And if the environmental benefits aren't enough to convince you, VerTerra boasts unmatched durability and versatility - use the plates for microwave reheat or short bakes in the oven! Here are a few other specifics from VerTerra you may find enticing:
  • Low carbon footprint. Ships do use energy, but they are a surprisingly efficient means of transportation, especially since our products pack flat. In fact, the energy for us to ship a container from India to our warehouse is equal to a truck driving round trip from New York to Boston.
  • VerTerra is free from chemicals, glues, lacquers, bonding agents, bleaches, dyes, plastics, etc. Nothing to leach into foods.
  • "Since our products are made from leaves, they're compostable and will naturally return to the earth in two months. This process uses 90% less energy than recycling.
  • Produced in India (where the leaves are). VerTerra owns the factory, where all of our workers receive fair wages in safe working conditions and are provided access to medical care.
Have you tried these fallen leaves plates and bowls yet? Let us know what you think about them and what your guests had to say!