While many cultures across the globe have been known to use plant leaves as tableware throughout their history, it is generally attributed to either cultural tradition or a region’s lack of wealth. A German company, Leaf Republic, is hoping to change that and bring eating upon plant leaves into the mainstream.
Based out of Munich, Leaf Republic was created out of a successful Kickstarter program (you can find their original proposal here). Leaf Republic now offers 6 different products, including bowls and appetiser trays. All of their products are kosher, helal, vegan, paleo, glue-free, chemical-free, plastic-free, trunk-free, oil-free, cruelty-free, and most importantly: 100% compostable.
The appearance of the plate or bowl is also completely natural, as no artificial colouring or other synthetic additives are used. The entire product is made out of leaves and every plate, bowl, or tray is entirely biodegradable within 28 days. The top and bottom of each plate or bowl is made out of leaves stitched together and the middle layer is a firm paper-like material made out of ground leaves. The leaves are sourced from plants that regrow them 3 times per year, meaning this resource is extremely renewable.
After their successful kickstarter campaign, the company has expanded to have 7 direct employees and is involved in over 20 partnerships. Their product is available through the German Amazon website at reasonable prices and the company promises that the higher quantities they ship, the more affordable their prices will become.
The inventors were inspired by native peoples around the world who use leaves and other biological materials as tableware. In Europe and elsewhere in the world, the waste generated from plastic disposable eating materials is devastating. Even paper plates bring a dramatic cost to the environment. Millions of trees are chopped down, affecting thousands of fish, animals, and plant species. The chemicals used to bleach the paper during their manufacturing are terrible to both human health and the environment. Lastly, they are often not even recycled because of the food waste that is covering the plate.
We previously covered the issues corresponding to the switch from paper straws to plastic. Leaf Republic’s completely biodegradable tableware is yet another step in the right direction. In the minds of Leaf Republic, “everything we own is only temporary,” so they wish to leave the planet as unblemished by our litter as possible.