A few years back I’m almost sure I remember seeing a segment on VerTerra palm leaf products on a Planet Green show. Until tonight I had forgotten I have also seen another company that offers this type of product on the BBC show Dragon’s Den. The brand featured on that show is sold by The Wholeleaf Co. I’m not able to tell you which company came up with the idea first or who made it to market first. I do remember being interested in the Wholeleaf product after seeing it featured. I’d venture a guess I looked into VerTerra after seeing them on television. Actually I’m not finding anything to support my memory of viewing them on Planet Green. I could have sworn they were featured on G Word.
The VerTerra package above just came into our home the other day. Cheryl has been very good about keeping an eye out for alternative products we can try. Not sure if she remembered me mentioning palm leaf bowls in the past or if this was something she thought I’d like. Either way once I saw them I was eager to put them to use.
My first test this morning involved a bowl of Fruity Pebbles in milk. The VerTerra bowl held up just fine. I washed it out with Ecover Dishwashing Liquid and of course water. I didn’t let the bowl dry on it’s own I used a towel for drying. Recently I had a very bad experience leaving one Pampered Chef Bamboo Square Bowl soaking in some water. Granted reading the instructions later I found out this is something your not supposed to do. I figured bamboo and water would mix well. Obviously in that case I was wrong the bowl split slightly.
The VerTerra bowl had no problems or distortion after washing. Later on I ate a small amount of strawberry ice cream out of the same dish. Again the bowl held up & there were no problems after cleaning. I’ve used the same bowl for eating several dry items this evening. So far the product has held up well. I’m honestly not sure why the company states single use only on their packaging. Not only is this a waste it doesn’t seem to be true. Even though the item is natural that shouldn’t be a reason to limit it’s use to one time. Your mileage may vary but so far I’d say VerTerra bowls should be considered a multiple use product.
Of course there is debate on how Earth friendly VerTerra products really are. Like many other consumer goods these are shipped from the other side of the world. Even though they are marketed as non-toxic, biodegradable and compostable – this doesn’t make it economical or environmentally friendly if you pitch them outside after one use. VerTerra doesn’t recommend using their products in a dishwashing machine. Their website does have a video of someone doing this though. On the Wholeleaf Co. website it states using a dishwashing machine on their products will just deform the shape.
What really interest me is how an everyday item used out of I’m sure necessity and ingenuity can be sold elsewhere at a premium price. I’d venture a guess that those who use palm leaf plates in India do so because it is readily available and easy for them to make. I doubt there is much consideration in regards to using a waste product and what is better for the planet. It’s just a basic need to live cost effectively. On that note both companies above claim to provide workers with a good working wage. Keep in mind unless this is verified by independent sources you can never truly know if a corporation is doing business in the manner they claim. Unfortunately marketing in the eco sector is full of false claims. I’m not stating that is the case here. But I think readers need to be aware of this when choosing products.
So far I’m happy with our VerTerra purchase after one day of use. I’ll try to put the product through it’s paces over the next few weeks. If I run into any problems I’ll definitely update this story or do another article. I’ve always felt that industries need to find responsible ways to use waste. In some cases this may not be possible. But it’s nice to see companies who make an effort to use waste products in a new innovative fashion.
I still always wonder how good a living wage workers can be getting when I see the price of many products. The one above is $6. After wages, production and shipping the company obviously still makes a profit. Can the person making the product actually be getting paid a decent amount for their work? Maybe when you factor in a different cost of living in the country where production takes place.
Lucky for the website below – they still provide decent information. Because their website design & Twitter activity is getting on my nerves. Honestly I may have to stop reading their work soon.