Unless you have 160 plates lying around, holiday entertaining may have you scrambling to figure out eco-friendly serving options. We're all for renting, borrowing, and asking people to bring their own dishes and utensils, but if you're looking for something disposable – make that compostable! – then World Centric makes some attractive and affordable solutions. We recently used World Centric's plates, bowls, and utensils at a potluck and found them to be sturdy and even more elegant than your typical disposable dishware. The plates and bowls are made from wheatstraw, an agricultural byproduct that remains after wheat grain and chaff have been extracted. They degrade within one to three months in a home or commercial composting system. The forks, spoons, and knives are made from non-GMO corn grown in China. Those are only compostable in commercial facilities, however. (The company also makes trash bags that will biodegrade within 180 days in a home composting system.)
The other thing we really like about World Centric is the company's mission "to reduce economic injustice and environmental degradation through education, community networks, and sustainable enterprises." Based in California, they actually started as a non-profit (that status changed about a year ago as the focus became the sale of compostable products) and continue to give 25% of their net profits to grassroots social and environmental organizations. Apparently they hope to one day give 100% of their profits! They also use wind and solar energy in their factories, offset their carbon emissions by planting trees in Cameroon and India, and adhere to Fair Labor practices.
World Centric products can be found at Whole Foods, World Market, Drugstore.com, and other retailers. (In Los Angeles, we buy them at Kellygreen Home.) Have you used any of the dishes, utensils, or bags? What did you think?
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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