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Top 10 Questions About Compostable Dinnerware Answered!

Renting reusable dinnerware is of course a fabulous option when it comes to reducing your wedding's carbon footprint. But that may not be the best option for everyone, whether due to accessibility or budget, and disposables are still often used at weddings and their surrounding events (engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, etc.). We often see some combo of reusables and disposables, for example reusable dinnerware but disposable dessert or cocktail hour plates and utensils. If you're going to use disposables at your wedding, know that there is a better option for you! Compostable dinnerware, like the type available from Sell Sage, is better for the environment than plastic options. We asked Sell Sage to answer some of the most common questions about compostable dinnerware, and we're excited to share their answers with you! We hope this will help you make decisions surrounding your disposable dinnerware choices!

Did you know it is estimated that the average wedding produces 400 lbs of trash and 63 tons of CO2? With an average of 2.5 million weddings happening per year in the United States alone that is about 1 billion lbs of trash and as many emissions as approximately 4 people would produce in a year, in just one single day - that’s a lot of waste!

Reducing waste created while planning your wedding is today very much possible, all without compromising on your big celebration! How? By exploring sustainable practices and innovative solutions!

Today, we’re looking at how you could use compostable plates, bowls, and utensils during your wedding and we’ll answer the top ten questions regarding compostable dinnerware!

SellSage is a certified minority enterprise for eco-friendly products and a big advocate of convenient sustainable solutions. Making it easy for people to choose green products instead of plastic ones is key to supporting people being more sustainable!

This is why they’re offering the perfect alternatives to single-use plastic plates: eco-friendly compostable dinnerware made out of palm leaves! Their plates, bowls, trays, and utensils offer the perfect blend of design, functionality, and sustainability. You can upgrade your food presentation (palm leaf plates are a lot more elegant than plastic ones and offer the ideal natural look to go with any decoration!) and let people know you care about the planet - all while keeping the convenience for disposable plates and eliminating dirty dishes. It’s a win-win!

Now with innovative products that are designed with the planet in mind, there are often a lot of questions! Here we’ve collected the top 5 questions that get asked about compostable plates and dinnerware to put your mind at ease and help you make the best choices for you on your special day!

Photographer: Copper Key Photo

Ready to dive in? Let’s go.

1. What is compostable dinnerware made of?

SellSage products such as disposable plates, bowls, trays are made 100% from naturally fallen areca palm leaves. Areca palms are widely planted in Asian nations such as India. One of the essential raw products obtained from the areca palm is the areca nut leaf sheath.

SellSage uses only naturally fallen leaves to make their products. The leaves are first collected on the ground and are then carefully sorted before being washed and mechanically pressed in a hot state. The product is finished with a final trim creating a stylish design that is sturdy and durable.

2. Areca palm leaves versus bamboo plates- what's the difference?

Areca palm leaves plates are made from naturally fallen leaves while bamboo plates are made from grown bamboo trees that are chopped down for that purpose. What's great about Areca palm leaves is that absolutely no trees are harmed during the process! This is why it so sustainable. There is no demand for more resources from the planet, SellSage simply uses what already exists. That makes areca palm leaves plates much more sustainable as well as more affordable thanks to a rather simple production process.

3. Is compostable dinnerware really compostable?

Disposable dinnerware such as plates, bowls, and utensils are considered compostable if they can fully break down into compost after use. Meaning they do not add to the rising levels of waste and landfills that are plaguing the planet.

4. What is the difference between biodegradable, and compostable products?

Biodegradable and compostable are terms often used interchangeably. Let’s look into their own definition to understand their differences.

Biodegradable: A biodegradable product will break down by the action of microorganisms. Without the help of these microorganisms, the product can’t decompose properly. It is important to dispose of biodegradable products in conditions where microorganisms can do their job and turn the products back into the natural environment without causing any harm. Without it, it can take hundreds of years to decompose.

Compostable: Compostable products are all also biodegradable but additionally, they will turn into compost when breaking down. Compost is a nutrient-rich soil or fertilizing mixture made of organic matter.

5. Which one is the most eco-friendly?

If you want to ensure you are leaving a positive imprint on the planet, choose compostable as much as you can. Compostable products are the best type of sustainable products to use (and dispose of) in terms of being environmentally safe and conscious as they do not secrete harmful toxins, chemicals, or byproducts back into our airways; waterways, or soils. Compostable decomposition is a completely natural process.

SellSage products are additionally USDA-certified 100% biobased product. A third-party certification you can recognize and trust!

6. How can you compost palm leaf dinnerware?

There are two types of compostable products:

  • Backyard compostable products that don’t need specific conditions to decompose into compost, that can be done in your regular backyard compost, such as other organic waste.

  • Commercially compostable products need to be disposed of in a facility to help the decomposition process. That facility creates the perfect temperature, oxygen, and moisture to facilitate the decomposition of the product into compost.

SellSage palm leaf dinnerware is backyard compostable making it super easy to dispose of! After being used, you can place your plates and cutlery, as well as your food waste, directly in a regular home compost. It will turn into fertilizer in about 45 days, leaving no trace behind! These products break down in your compost and turn into soil that you can use in your yard.

7. What if I can't compost them? Is it just as bad as plastic dinnerware?

When looking for wedding venues you can inquire about their waste management, many places now have a compost system available for events. If this isn’t possible you can consider the collection of compostable items and have someone take them to your local community farm or composting site.

If all of the above isn’t possible, it’s still important to opt for compostable tableware instead of plastic where possible. This is due to the fact that they contain zero chemicals, so even if they end up in landfill, they will not release harmful toxins when they begin breaking down, unlike plastic.

Plastic on the other hand takes a very very long time to decompose. Much longer than the lifespan of a human being. It can take hundreds of years and even then it doesn’t fully ‘disappear’. It is estimated that almost every piece of plastic that has been produced since plastic was introduced into our lives in the 1950s still exists in some shape or form to this day, polluting our environment, killing wildlife, and hurting our health.

8. How durable is compostable tableware? Can I serve both hot and cold foods?

Disposable plates need to be more than eco-friendly. They also need to be sturdy to hold your food for your guests! SellSage palm leaf dinnerware is both flexible, sustainable, and durable. It is stronger and sturdier than paper plates and does not fall apart. Each product can hold both hot and cold liquids and food (it performs better than bamboo while handling heat) while maintaining shape and without transferring heat!

Looking for convenient appetizers and dessert bowls? Serving hot soup as a starter? No problems in palm leaf bowls!

9. Does compostable tableware look cheap?

Customers love the natural look of the SellSage palm leaf collection. The care taken during production is evident. The natural and neutral look of the Areca palm leaf makes it easy to incorporate into your wedding celebrations. Whether you’re having a totally low-waste wedding or you’re just looking for more sustainable options, this compostable dinnerware is both eco-friendly and stylish!

10. When to use compostable dinnerware for your wedding?

Compostable tableware is an especially useful option for events at venues that do not have a facility on-site for rinsing off rental plates or if there is concern about breakage, for example, and in some cases may be a more economical option than renting.

Compostable plates and bowls can also be a great option for pre-wedding events such as bachelor/bachelorette parties, getting-ready brunch, or for late-night snacks after the reception where breakage is more common or guests may wish to bring their plate with them.

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