Bhubaneswar: Did you know disposable plates made of plastic/styrofoam do not degrade for hundreds of years and cause pollution at all levels? Even paper plates lined with polythene are bad for the environment. Don’t worry, there are very good alternatives to these.
1. Sal Leaves
Known as Khali Patra in Odia, these age-old plates are easily decomposable and even cattle can eat them after use. The ones lined with polythene defeats the purpose. Sal plates, however, have the disadvantage of not being waterproof or sturdy. It is the most affordable option after plain paper plates.
A sugarcane byproduct, bagasse is widely available as tableware in form of plates, cups, bowls, etc. The plates are microwavable for a limited time. They are also available in compartment forms making them convenient for serving curries. They are sturdier than Sal leaves. It takes 45-60 days to decompose. Bagasse plates cost around Rs 5.
3. Areca Nut
These are one of the strongest green disposables available currently. Areca Nut plates, cups, bowls feel like wood and do not bend while holding on one hand. Some of these can be washed and reused as well. These decompose in 15 days and can be used in microwaves, refrigerators as well. Cost-wise, they are slightly more expensive than bagasse plates, and come for around Rs 10 per plate.
Also, do not forget to team it with disposable wooden spoons and forks.