Eco Friendly Palm Leaf Plates – The Need Of The Hour
The palm leaf plates are natural products obtained in the most natural way and are used as disposable dinnerware in lieu of plastics and paper products in parties. Earth is facing the great threat of pollution from plastics and polymers. Not only that they do not degrade naturally but also they create poisonous smoke causing air pollution when combusted. This was really a challenge that we face today and so to overcome this, many researches were conducted for ages.
If we could reduce the usage of these harmful substances they need to be replaced by more natural products. Palm leaf plates which are also known as areca leaf plates are one such innovative product, an ingenious invention from leaves that were wasted before a couple of decades.
The palm leaves are of course not plucked from the tree, but the tree as it grows taller, shed these leaves or sheaths in every season. The falling of these leaves are more in summer season and so during that time, they are collected, bundled, transported and stored for the entire year. The quality of summer fallen leaves is also high.
These leaves are very hard and break when you bend them. But fortunately when you soak them in water, they absorb enough water and turn flexible. So usually a bundle of leaves is soaked in a small water tank for couple of hours so that they become tender. Then they are brushed to remove dirt and cleaned in running water and allowed to drain for half a day. This ensures the leaf is flexible and half dry.
The leaves are fed in areca leaf plate making machines. There are various types of machines used for this purpose namely leg operated machines, hand operated machines, hydraulic machines, semi automatic machines and fully automatic machines. Semi automatic machines need manual works for forging the plates.
Once the machine reaches the correct temperature, the leaves are fed into that and pressed. Under high heat and pressure, the leaves are shaped into plates, cups, trays and bowls. Then they are taken out of the machines and are allowed to dry in shade for few hours before they are bundled.
These areca leaf plates have obtained welcome worldwide since they are considered as eco-friendly products. They are used in parties, marriages and picnics. Though they are washable, washing might absorb water and turn them flexible thereby losing their shapes. So it is usually used as disposable plates. They have a clean woody look but are very cheap when compared to wooden plates.
The main advantage of these disposable palm leaf plates are they do not bend like paper plates when you hold them in your hand and also they are affordable enough to be used as disposable plates. These plates have their origin in India and have found their place in many parts of the world. They are neatly packed in cartons before they are exported. Surely people would love to use these eco friendly leaf plates for serving food during festival times and special occasions.