On some select occasions or places, we eat from typical bowls and plates made from leaves. Be it at a South Indian eatery, langar, the nearest golgappa-wala or those umpteen wedding functions that we attended, we often ate from those leafy plates or bowls. The leaf plates gradually disappeared from the scene many years ago, and little did we realise their worth. Today, we use bowls and plates made from steel/plastic/wood/ceramics and, in some cases, styrofoam. We all know what effect they have on the environment in the long run. Besides being a major water pollutant and a threat to the aquatic life, the manufacture of these non-leafy plates and cups result in the cutting down of trees and leads to deforestation.

But a German organization has taken a big initiative towards saving the environment, and it has a lot to do with India’s age-old tradition of using plates and bowls made from leaves.

The Company Is Called Leaf Republic

A German company by the name of Leaf Republic has started manufacturing one-way (disposable) tableware made out of leaves and stitched together with fibres made from palm leaves. People at Leaf Republic spent around 3 years in researching and developing the prototypes, started with a manual pressing machine, gradually moving to a semi-automatic prototyping machine and finally will move on to a fully-automated production facility soon. Leaf Republic got its funding from Kickstarter due to the innovative nature of the product.

team Leaf Republic
kickstarter

How is the tableware made?

The plates and bowls are made of two layers of leaves. In between these two layers, lies another layer of paper, again made from leaves. The use of three layers in total make the tableware waterproof as well. These layers are then stitched together with the help of fibres that come from palm leaves.

How leaf plates are made
kickstarter

What are the plates made of?

The tableware made by Leaf Republic uses no plastic, chemicals, glue, additives or oil in the process of manufacturing. It only uses natural stuff like leaves and fibre derived from leaves. The leaves used to manufacture the tableware regrow 3 times a year and degrade in every household’s compost. Hence, they are the perfect choice for disposable tableware.

Biodegradable leaf plates
Smiile/Twitter

These plates are totally eco-friendly

Well, although most of us already know the answers to this question, we don’t mind reiterating it for the simple reason of increasing awareness. It is totally bio-degradable and goes back into nature in 28 days as opposed to tableware made out of plastic and similar stuff which stays in nature for around 7,30,000 days. The tableware is does not do any harm to the trunk of the trees, is vegan and does not amount to any kind of cruelty to animals. The leafy tableware is a humble attempt to reduce deforestation which is around 13 million hectares of wood every year. It is also a humble attempt to reduce the constantly rising heaps of garbage which amount to almost 1 billion tons per year, almost reaching up to the Mount Everest. The use of this tableware would also prevent us from over-using our current natural and man-made resources. The table ware has a great shelf life too, which is around 18 months.

Biodegradable leaf republic plates
kickstarter

The Philosophy section of Leaf Republic website reads

We love to beautifully present things, to beautifully package them. Packaging is a part of our daily lives. There has always been packaging and there always will be. As the number of people and their consumption keep on growing, the packaging market has an impressive size all over the world – and now it is time to revolutionize it.

Leaf plate food serving
leaf republic/Facebook

What was once very common in India has now been forgotten by the Indians themselves. If you actually think about it, won’t going back to using a leafy tableware make the world a much better place to live in?

So, let us go back to the basics and leave a healthier earth for our future generations!