Right up till now if there was a need for disposable dinnerware the options were those made out of paper, poly-coated paper or polystyrene. All these options incur a carbon footprint and are a direct cause of cutting down trees or the use of petroleum based products. But now things are different and we have quite a few setups manufacturing eco friendly dinnerware out of an easily renewable plant, the Arecanut Tree.
One such company is Pattra. The word Pattra literally means ‘leaf’ in Sanskrit and so this sustainable venture started by a family of doctors known for their humanitarian work was named just that. The company employs fair wage workers who fulfill their aspirations and secure a better life by working for them. It is a women oriented industry, and especially those women who are below the poverty line are employed.
Pattra recognising the need for environment friendly products has set up several micro factories in the rural areas of Karnataka. The dinnerware is manufactured by using the locally abundant fallen Arecanut tree sheaths without causing any harm to the trees. No chemicals, toxins, gums or lacquers are used at any stage of manufacturing.
Pattra has its main factory in Mijar near Mangalore, Karnataka, where low cost technology has been developed in a rural set up.
It also has a few small manufacturing units in a few villages in Dhakshina Karnataka to which it supplies machinery and technical assistance. A 100 per cent buy back guarantee is provided to the producers of leaf plates in these units.
The products are purchased from individual producers on a weekly basis at a fair trade price jointly decided by the company and producers.A highly interactive training course lasting 3-5 days is required to develop skills of operation and the manufacturing process. The training is required right from the installation of the machines, to the production and processing of the quality products.
The fallen Arecanut sheaths are first collected, sun dried and stored. Just before processing begins, the sheaths are carefully cleaned with a brush and washed with water and dried.
With the help of heat press machines and the use of a number of different molds an assortment of dinner plates and bowls are churned out. No other processing makes the whole range completely compostable and therefore very eco friendly. The leaf remnants too are not wasted, instead they are used for fencing, mulching or composting.
These elegant dinnerware products manufactured by Pattra are also microwave and oven compliant and can be stored in refrigerators and deep freezers too. With today’s fast pace of living, Pattra’s dinnerware can replace any home’s regular china crockery and even eliminate the need to hire help for dish-washing purposes.
Pattra’s vision is to bring uniqueness to the way the world dines with this incredible product of India!