Compostable Plates, A Guilt-Free Choice For Catering

As the average person becomes more aware of the far-reaching effects of our human footprint on the planet, it is gratifying to also see an increase in available choices in consumer products that support this sustainability model. Compostable plates are one of these eco-friendly ideas that has made it to the supermarket shelves, heralding wide community acceptance of the responsibility on all of us to reduce landfill.

But can just offering a new product with all the right environmentally friendly attributes make enough positive impact on the longevity of our planet? If compostable plates are more costly for consumers to purchase, and if non-biodegradable plastic disposable plates are still cheaply available, will enough people make the switch?

There is strong evidence to believe that the trend towards sustainability is not only gathering momentum at a household level but is indeed here to stay.

The first indication that more people are making the transition from the disposable plastic version to compostable plates, is that the new plates are becoming quite visible in the average grocery store, with strong enviro-natural branding and attractive packaging. Popular material types such as bamboo, with its emotional connection to endangered wildlife, etc, are clearly identified as a feature or logo. Even the descriptor of ‘compostable’ as opposed to ‘biodegradable’, puts the emphasis on an unspoken obligation by the purchaser to personally dispose of the used plate in their own composting bin, rather than just separate it out for recycling by a third party during the waste collection process.

A second indication that compostable plate use is gaining traction over plastic, is simply the wide variety of compostable materials now being used, and accepted at the retail endpoint, by consumers. Bagasse (or sugar cane waste), and recycled paper plates are among the types of material that have the virtues of being affordable and saving waste material from becoming landfill. Bamboo and palm leaf plates are more upmarket and expensive but have the advantage of being sturdy enough to serve multiple uses before needing to be disposed of.

And finally, a very telling indicator that compostable plates are the new normal is that event caterers are now looking upon offering a compostable dinner service range as a sound marketing strategy. And the hosts of large gatherings such as weddings are proudly demonstrating a preference for using compostable plates as an expression of their environmentally responsible consciousness. Whereas in former days using disposable plates for a classy wedding would be unthinkable, it is now accepted and applauded when the bride and groom make this statement for the planet by going with stylishly printed bamboo utensils and plates for their reception guests.

Since it is clear that educating about the damage of plastics to the environment and ecology has been widespread and effective, so now the demand for alternatives has produced a satisfying range of natural products, and even new market niches such as eco catering. It looks like, thankfully, the compostable plate is here to stay.

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