Posts Tagged by Dinnerware
|November 7, 2009||Posted by Issa under Simple-Eco-Happy|
Shortly after moving into The Wallow, Joshua and I had to go grocery shopping, of course. We went into town seeking a grocery store, and one of the first places we found was a Whole Foods-type place. It was a large, well-stocked grocery store with a focus on organic and “natural” foods. Joshua and I share those values, to some extent, so in we went.
We were able to find much of what we were looking for. I also ran across something that I wasn’t looking for, but that I stopped for to have a good chuckle.
First up, VerTerra Dinnerware. VerTerra makes plates and bowls “made only from two products: fallen leaves and water”. They say their products are compostable at home within two months. According to their website, you can use hot and liquid foods on these dishes, can microwave them for up to 2 minutes, and they won’t be affected by the sun, so you can use them outdoors.
I found an article on VerTerra over at TreeHugger with lots of great quotes from a VerTerra representative:
“Our entire process is run in concert with nature, which is why we use fallen leaves, and recapture over 80% of the water that we use.”
“The leaves are collected from plantations by the owners, traditionally the leaves were burned on the road side. Instead of burning them we thought it better to utilize them so we got permission to pick them up from the plantation owners and started truck (or cart) routes.”
“At no point are any chemicals, liquors, glues, bonding agents, or the like used.”
Sounds good, right? If you’d like to check them out yourself, they are even available at Amazon.
Then there’s Bambu Veneerware. Bambu boasts party-ware made from organic bamboo. The product line includes plates, trays, and utensils. They recommend that you not use them in the microwave and that you only use them once.
Bambu, of course, is also available from Amazon.
These products are clearly being marketed to me. I walked past the display in the grocery store and they caught my eye quite well. My brain was right in step as well – “Oh! Plates made from leaves! Bamboo! So eco-conscious!” The products and their packaging have the look that I like – a minimalist, nature look that I first noticed in yoga-commerce.
I also appreciate the idea that if there’s something that I really want to do, I should be on the lookout for ways to do it that take my larger environment in mind. Making useful products out of leaves? Who wouldn’t approve of that?
So why did I get a laugh out of these products? Mainly because the eco-consciousness is out of sync with the actual product. Disposable is not responsible. Is it better than making disposable plates from plastic? Yes, of course. But it’s still furthering the idea that it’s okay to eat off of a plate one time and then throw it in the trash.
I haven’t used disposable dinnerware in a long time. I have glass and stone plates, regular metal silverware, and glass storage bowls. When I take food to a friend’s house, I use my glass bowls. When I go on a picnic, I use the same dishes I use for everything else, or I wrap the food up in cloth. I’ve never understood having special, trash dishes.
If someone can buy one of these products and get a little further away from completely disposable dishes, that’s great. If they buy one of these and then compost them, perfect. If they buy one of these and then reuse them several times, that’s also great.
The danger in these products is if someone uses them to not make any changes at all. Someone who wants to get away from disposables, but uses these products as an excuse to keep doing what they’re doing. Or someone like me, who hasn’t used disposable in years, but saw these products and had an “Ooh shiney!” reaction.
Besides being an environmental issue, this all ties into simplicity for me, too. I just don’t need more stuff. I don’t need a greater variety of stuff. The people and companies who try to talk me into buying more and more stuff do not have my best interests in mind, regardless of how much “green” is on their packaging.
Remember folks, marketing works, but chances are, the choice that’s good for the environment and good for you involves buying LESS not buying MORE or even buying differently.