Klerifying Fact: Paper was invented by the Chinese in 105 A.D. and it took a while after that to manufacture paper plates…
Who would have thought that an innovative material to write on would lead to a revolution where America use 69 million tons of paper materials?
Paper plates make up a significant percent of that total, as Americans have thrown away 64 billion disposable paper cups and plates in one year! So before you break out the finest, whitest paper plates to impress guests use sustainable disposable plates or reusable plates.
Thankfully leading brands that you may already buy are doing the right things. So read on and avoid the bad brands.
Clean Convenience, Filthy Environment
Those lovely white plates came from a forest and to produce them, as with any paper product requires bigly natural resources like energy, water use, land, and water pollution. Paper production is a leading cause of deforestation and habitat. Too often your clean plate comes from a clear cut:
Paper demand is increasing and therefore creating more deforestation. You don’t want to serve your guests meals on orangutan homes, do you?
Substitute the Virgin Forest Paper Plates with Other Materials
If you can’t avoid disposable plates, there are three good alternatives to plates made from trees:
Bagasse plates – these are made from sugarcane residue.
Bamboo plates – made from the same stuff that Pandas eat. Bamboo grows faster than trees and requires less land to make the same amount of product.
Recycled paper plates – you know the third “R” in reduce, reuse, and recycle!
Here's a healthy bamboo forest!
So why should I switch?
In many instances, recycled paper plates or greener paper material are the same price as the environmentally unfriendly brands that come from forests. The alternatives have the following positive impacts:
As much as 40% improved carbon footprint.
Zero hazardous chemicals used to bleach the paper for plating.
Protect habitat for your favorite animals!
Buy with the following guide, including links on where to shop!
😃 Green Brands: Your reusable ceramic plates, wherever they’re from!
😐 Yellow brands (Recycled paper, FSC Certified, bamboo or bagasse plates): Bambu, Chinet, Earth's Natural Alternative, Green Party Goods
😡 . Red Brands: Dixie, Solo
We did not make this up!
Pic of clearcut:
By Calibas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons