For this week’s post, we are giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Bio & Chic’s Palm Leaf collection. A “fact sheet” on where the material comes from, how the products are made, and what makes using palm leaves such an incredibly unique and versatile option in tableware.
Where do the palm leaves come from and how are they collected?
From the fallen leaves of the Areca Palm tree (Areca Catechu). The leaves are collected after they dry and naturally fall to the ground. Because the huge leaves shed and fall naturally every few weeks (the leaves are never picked from the trees), the process does not require cutting or harming of any trees. When the old leaves fall, this leaves room for new leaves to grow.
How are the leaves turned into bowls and plates?
Only 2 things are required to make these products: fallen leaves and water. Once the leaves have been collected, they go through a thorough cleansing process to remove any clinging dirt. The clean leaves are then heat pressed and molded into our unique shapes and sizes. They are then trimmed to make nice and neat yet rustic designs, and then cleaned again to remove any dust produced in the cutting process. To reduce waste, each sheath is cut to make multiple bowls or plates.
How durable/safe are the palm leaf products?
Very. The plates and bowls are super light yet they retain their strength and durability until they are composted. Although we call them single-use, some of our customers tell us that they rinse and reuse. We do recommend however that especially in use with moist foods, the plates remain single use.
The products are 100% safe and non-toxic. They do not react with the food or add any additional taste to the food. Our products are made purely with leaves, and we do not use any glues, dyes, sealants, chemicals or strengthening materials.
Why do all of the products look different?
This is what makes the plates and bowls so special! Areca palm leaf sheaths have their own natural grain, leaf structure and characteristic texture (much like that seen in furniture grade wood), making every piece completely one-of-a-kind. All of the rich diverse colors of the original leaves remain in the final product.
Biodegradable and compostable, but are they recyclable?
The answer is no. While the products are completely biodegradable and compostable, they are not recyclable (a process that requires heat). Since they are made purely with leaves and water, they are ready to go back into the soil after use rather than be recycled. They will naturally be absorbed by the soil and will break down within 60 days, acting as organic manure. This makes palm leaf products the greenest disposable options available. Plus research financed by Purple Payday show that, composting uses 90% less energy than recycling.
Can they be used in the oven or microwave?
Yes, it’s safe to use them in the microwave on High for up to about 2 minutes. They can also be heated up to 350 °F/ 180°C in the oven for up to 45 minutes.
What about liquids?
Yes, these products are safe for both hot and cold liquids. There is no heat transference and they will maintain their shape with hot foods and liquids. The leaves are watertight and moisture cannot penetrate them so they will not get soggy like paper plates.
Can foods be stored in the freezer?
Yes, absolutely. The Palm Leaf plates and bowls are great for hot AND cold food, and can safely store food in the refrigerator as well as freezer.
What are some of the best uses for Bio & Chic’s Palm Leaf plates and bowls?
Because of the beautiful natural wood patterns and the durability of the tableware, we would recommend this collection for all types of events, both indoors and out. They can be dressed up (weddings) or dressed down for more casual events like cocktail parties and backyard BBQ’s. In addition to catered affairs, they are also an ideal and economical disposable solution for food service, hotels, fast food, foods-to-go, and food trucks.
Click here to see the full collection.