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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Marx Food's Palm Plate Review

Palm Plate, Paper Plate, Styrofoam Plate.
**Disclaimer: This is not valid scientific research. I took a “scientific approach” to my review just for the fun of it.  I only found one article per plate (except the palm plates) to back up my claims.  Also, I was sent these plates for free to try them out. **

     Marx Foods has come up with a great design of plates.  Made from the fallen leaves of the Adaka Palm Tree, they are washed, stretched, dried, and then heated into these plates.  What makes them really cool is that you can compost them when you are done, which also means, if you just throw them away, they will disappear in no time at the garbage dump.

     The night we tested these plates, I had some friends come over for ‘The Test’.  I wanted to approach this review in a somewhat scientific way.  Which meant, we needed to have different types of plates to compare to the Palm Plates.

The Approach
     Some of our guests had the traditional paper plates.  One guest had a Styrofoam plate (that has been sitting around for years in my cupboard).  Finally, some got to use the Palm Plates.  Amazingly, there was a little dispute on who got to eat with the Palm Plates.  With these plates being new on the block, everyone wanted to try them out.

The Dish
    Obviously, the typical dishes that paper plates encounter are dry.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, other dried foods...but I wanted something that was a meal in it’s own, but also damp and wet.  In comes Chili.  You basic, everyday, red chili.

The Results:
Chili and corn muffins on test subjects

The Paper Plate

Soggy factor
     The paper plates did not hold up to the chili.  Thankfully I gave my guests a few of them or else they would have worn a hole through their plates.

Weight Factor
     If we were standing,  these plates could not handle the weight of the chili.   They would have needed the help of another object to stay firm.

Toxic Factor
     I did a tiny bit of research and one site said, “Paper plates may also include dyes that include toxins and emit volatile organic chemicals (VOC's) in manufacturing.(1)”  This does not conclude that they are toxic,  but there still is a chance.

Coolness Factor
     These plates have been around forever.  They are as plain as plain o’le janes can be.  They are not cool.


The Styrofoam Plate

Soggy factor
     The plate was not soggy after her meal. In fact is looked really good.

Weight Factor
     If we were standing and eating,  the plate would have held up without assistance.

Toxic Factor
     According to this article “As for you, chow time with Styrofoam could mean ingesting a bit of styrene with your rice. Research on whether polystyrene chemicals "migrate" from container to food is hotly debated, but it's a fact that styrene has been present in our fatty tissue and breast milk for the past 30 years. We might not be clear on what that means yet, but it can't be yummy for baby.(2)”  Everyone also know,  there are dangers in microwaving with these, and they take forever to decompose in the garbage dumps.

Coolness Factor
     Although they can handle carrying heavy foods while standing,  everyone is going to think bad thoughts because of all the evil connotations that come with eating off Styrofoam.
Results are in!

The Palm Plate

Soggy factor
    It held up to the chili.  Although it did seem to get a little gooey towards the end, I was still able to wash it and use it one more time.   It even held up to me washing it.

Weight Factor
     If we were standing and eating,  the plate would have held up without much assistance.

Toxic Factor
     Because they steam these into shape, by not using any glues and adhesives,  these plates are safe to use.

Coolness Factor
     These plates peg the coolness factor.  Not only would someone be cool using such ‘green’ plates.  The different shape options also add to the coolness factor.  The fact we are eating off a palm leaf is also very cool.

Now for my final thought...
    I think these plates can be used again.  Instead of throwing them in your compost (be sure there is nothing fatty on them or else it might stink up your dirt),  use it to grow future plants.   I think next spring I would love to try to reuse my palm plates by drilling holes in the bottom, filling it with dirt, and then planting a few seeds in it.  Then when the plants are ready to go in the earth,  I will make a hole big enough for the whole plate to go in.  I am no master gardener,  so give me a break if the idea is insane,  but it’s worth the idea, eh? 

Final final thought...
     Go try these plates for yourself!  It’s a whole lot of fun,  and your guests will enjoy it too!

1) Read more: What Are Paper Plates Made of? |

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