Swap Biodegradable Tableware for the Styrofoam

Posted by: Amity Hook-Sopko on


Of all the baby steps you can take toward a greener lifestyle, this is one of my favorites: Never, ever use Styrofoam.

Much like plastic, Styrofoam never biodegrades or breaks down.  But unlike most plastics, Styrofoam is rarely ever recycled.  It can be done, but it’s difficult and I’ve yet to come across a facility that takes it.

Much of our plastic and Styrofoam waste comes from eating out.   When you consider how often Americans go out to eat, the disposable cups, straws, plates, silverware and takeout containers can really pile up in our landfills.

Biodegradable Tableware

That’s why some eco-conscious restaurants have made the switch to biodegradable food service products.  These items are made from nature-based components like corn, potato, tapioca, and sugar cane, which means they break down naturally or can be composted.

Earth-Centric, LLC, in Portland, OR, is a supplier of these environmentally safe, renewable items.  Their products range from bio-plastic garbage bags to pet care items to deli-ware items.  General Manager, Tom Smith, says Earth-Centric’s goal is to create products that reduce their overall carbon impact on the environment with products made from bio-plastics, PLA, recycled sugar cane fiber material, bamboo sheath, and non-bleached paper products.

Bio-Plastic Cups

So what about your next party?  Obviously the zero-waste option is to serve guests with real plates, cups, and forks.  That’s easy enough to do at home (and guarantees you won’t be wasting energy on a half-full dishwasher load).  But bringing your own dishes doesn’t work out so well for a picnic or birthday party at the park.

You don’t have to be a business or restaurant to buy these biodegradable products. Earth-Centric makes its products available in smaller pack sizes for individual uses.  Tom Smith says they started out selling only to commercial markets in bulk cartons.  But soon they were receiving requests from customers wanting to know where they could buy the same products in smaller quantities.  That’s what led Earth-Centric to experiment with some local friends and an eBay store.

“With a small group of family and friends, we were able to break up the larger cartons of products into smaller, more manageable formats for small businesses and family events.”  He also adds that, “Having these unique products available to customers gives anyone the ability to empower themselves to help protect the planet.”

Earth-Friendly Party Goods Resonate In Portland

Earth-Centric’s grassroots support has helped spread the popularity of biodegradable and compostable food service items at every new event or party.  “Our customers are our sales force,” Tom explains.  “They expose the products to local businesses to encourage them to limit the use of harmful and toxic polyurethane and Styrofoam products.”

For the past three years, Earth-Centric has expanded their product line to include as many nature-based renewable products to provide their customers a constant supply of green options.  These loyal customers happily educate others on the availability of these products and how to compost the waste.

So whether you’d like to see your favorite restaurant replace their takeout containers with ones made from corn syrup, or if you’re just looking for a more sustainable option for your next party, give some thought to your biodegradable options.  But whatever you do… Never, ever use Styrofoam.

Originally posted 2010-02-18 09:00:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter