For sustainable society


Stylish and Environmentally-Friendly Disposable Plates

Most people are aware of the many risks associated with plastics, such as the marine plastic waste problem and that it does not break down into soil, even when buried in landfill. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals #14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans” and #15 “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems” cover such environmental issues, and one sustainable initiative to address them is the development of plates and bowls made of wheat bran.

These wheat bran products are made in Poland by a company called BIOTREM. The manufacturing process for wheat bran products does not require large amounts of water, mineral resources, or chemical compounds, and one tonne of wheat bran can be turned into 10,000 plates or bowls. A significant point of difference from regular plastic and paper products is that wheat bran products are completely broken down by microorganisms in 30 days through composting.

Some people might be concerned that liquid from the wheat bran might seep out, but the products are said to be usable with both hot and cold foods, and can also be used in conventional and microwave ovens. This looks like a superior product to disposable plastic which can also be used every day.

Wheat bran products are available online in 18 countries, including Denmark, Germany, Norway, and South Korea. Variations include 28cm (11”), 24cm (9.4”), and 20cm (7.9”) diameter round plates, 20cm (7.9”) diameter round bowls, as well as 24 x 16cm (9.4” x 6.3”) oval bowls. BIOTREM also makes cutlery from wheat bran and biodegradable PLA plastic.

Plastic products are convenient, but also involve many risks. It would be good to not simply quit using plastic products, but reduce plastic waste by shifting to products whose design bears disposal in mind such as these wheat bran products.