I got the idea for EcoSouLife on the mbg blog post 9 Sustainable Items To Add To Your Target Cart. However, when I went to Target they didn’t carry them. So I went to my other shopping stop, Amazon, and found a nice selection of products. These items felt like a no-brainer: disposable tableware made from cornstarch. I don’t do a ton of hosting but we have small parties at our house probably two to four times a year. We also attend countless kids birthday parties where there is just so much waste, from plastic forks to water bottles. So the idea that there could be something out there you wouldn’t feel guilty about throwing away really interested me.
ABOUT THE PRODUCT
EcoSouLife creates reusable and disposable tableware made from organic material. Wait. That is completely underwhelming. This might be one of the most innovative products I’ve reviewed so far. They partner with farmers to take the waste they don’t use and can’t sell – husks, saw dust, leaves, stems, and pulverize them into a pulp that is then processed to make their various lines of tableware. They are not saving the world from tons of organic waste and tableware is not the most thrilling product category, but they are using materials that otherwise has no economic value and using it to replace plastic items that are contributing to the millions of tons of plastic waste littering the planet and oceans. Something that creative and made from plants can’t be very good to use, right? Read on my friend. You can find their products on their website, Amazon and worldwide at various retailers.
- REUSABLE- three different product ranges to choose from:
- Bamboo, rice husk and pla (variety of plant material)
- Decomposes within 2 – 3 years
- DISPOSABLE- three different product ranges to choose from:
- Cornstarch, palm leaf, wheat
- Decomposes between 30 days to 12 months.
There were nine of us at our house for an adult game night earlier this month and I thought this would be the perfect time to test out the EcoSouLife cornstarch products on my unsuspecting guests! muahahah! Overall, they feel really sturdy. Seriously, you would have no idea that these were made from plant material and not plastic. There is a soft, almost powdery feel to them. But to remove any doubts, they are not in fact powdery, there is absolutely no residue and no taste transferred to the food and beverages. We used the knives for cutting chicken drumsticks, and they probably worked as best as any disposable knives. Okay, not great. Forks and spoons worked just fine. Same with both size plates. The cups were interesting because the ring around the top and the base are very solid and sturdy, but the shaft is very soft and bendable like a Dixie cup. Everyone seemed very impressed with them and someone even asked me for the information so she could buy them. I didn’t use the bowls but subsequently tested them in the microwave. They hold 1 1/2 cups of water which I heated on high for 2 minutes. The bowl was pretty hot, more along the sides than the rim, but held up fine.
The 140 pc set is $24.99 on Amazon. It comes with 20 each of small plates, large plates, bowls, cups, forks, knives and spoons. Since I mostly shop at Target or Amazon, I did a price comparison with the Up & Up Basics. The cutlery is 6 times more and the plates are about 3 times more than the Target brand. However, they are on par with pricing for the nicer disposable tableware such as the colored or metallic styles. The cups and cutlery feel like similar quality to the Basics, but the plates and bowls feel solid and I would say they are a little closer to the more heavy duty products. I later discovered they offer black and lime versions of their plates and cutlery, so there you go! The bamboo reusable line also has a variety of colors.
BUT DO THEY LOOK GOOD?
They’re good for disposable items. They have a nice pattern on them. In fact, I would maybe say they are a bit over designed if anything. They have a clear “biodegradable” mark on them which I could do without. But for birthday parties, BBQs and other casual events I think they are perfect and I’m not sure anyone would even notice. Just to clarify, the “biodegradable” mark is embossed on the bottom and is less obvious on the top of the plate.
WHAT PROBLEM IS IT HELPING TO SOLVE?
Disposable cutlery is usually made from polystyrene (PS), the most commonly produced plastic. It’s super cheap to make and not very cost-effective to recycle. It’s generally not accepted for curbside pickup but you can check to see if your city collects plastics with the #6 . However, from what I’ve read some recycling centers don’t separate it out because there is no one willing to pay to have them recycled. Other items that are also made from PS include foam takeout containers, packaging peanuts, plastic razors and CD cases. It doesn’t really break down and pretty much lasts forever. In fact, many cities and countries have banned foam takeout containers since there are so many better alternatives. So here is one alternative for the other part of our takeout needs.
There are others selling various biodegradable tableware. I’ve seen some items from World Centric at Sprouts but plant-based tableware seems to be mostly sold online at this time.
DO I RECOMMEND IT?
Absolutely! These are fantastic. And I would recommend checking out their other items. I really want their bamboo bowl with the cutting board on top which is not currently available in the U.S. If you have used any of these or other eco-friendly disposable tableware I’d love to hear what you think!