We’ve seen grain-based edible cutlery from India, and more recently, seaweed-based disposable cups from the US. Now we’ve discovered servingware made from 100 per cent plant leaves in Germany.
Leaf Republic started out with a vision to create completely sustainable and biodegradable outdoor tableware in response to plastic waste pollution caused by packaging. After years of prototyping, they came up with a disposable material fabricated entirely out of leaves.
The team has now developed a whole series of packaging and tableware using pressing machines to sandwich a middle layer of leaf paper inbetween two layers, which are composed of leaves stitched together with palm leaf fibres. No plastics, adhesives, chemicals or additives of any kind are added to the product. The materials are pressed together in a mould and out comes a design that despite its natural construction is both waterproof and durable.
The leaves used in the designs are sourced from a wild creeper plant collected by villagers in Asia and South America.
Once used, the material takes only 28 days to decompose and return back to nature, a vast improvement from toxic packaging such as a plastic bottle, which takes 450 years to completely degrade. Alternatively, the eco-ware can be stored for reuse if they were originally used to serve dry foods and snacks.
Leaf Republic has a small-scale manufacturing facility in Germany but they are looking to scale up production with crowdfunding. They hope to begin mass distribution of their tableware and packaging.