Eco-friendly plates made from pineapple will sprout when planted

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Colombian company Lifepack is making eco-friendly biodegradable plates and cutlery out of old pineapple tops that would otherwise go to waste. In the same way, you can plant a pineapple top in your garden, you can plant these plates, and they will sprout in the soil because they contain seeds.

The plates are part of Lifepack’s latest effort to lessen plastic waste globally. The company has previously produced coffee cup sleeves and sandwich containers that contain seeds from various edible plants, including strawberry, cilantro, and amaranth.

Sản phẩm của Lifepack nảy mầm khi được chôn dưới đất
Lifepack’s products sprout when planted.

Claudia Barona, the co-founder of Lifepack, said “We are using agricultural residues that people were just throwing away, and we are transforming them into useful products. That’s where we make a difference.”

Workers at Lifepack’s California factory can produce 10K eco-friendly plates on a busy day. The company collects its pineapple crowns from a nearby processing plant, Deli Agro Foods, whose owners don’t charge Lifepack for the material.

Ngọn dứa được thu thập để sản xuất
Pineapple crowns are collected for manufacturing.

Gloria Estela Ramirez, Deli Agro Foods manager, said “We are trying to promote the creation of circular economies. And when it comes to our pineapple crowns, we think they couldn’t be in better hands. Lifepack is doing an important job, and it’s something we support.”


How Lifepack workers make the plates and cutlery:

  • They shred pineapple tops.
  • Mix the shreds with recycled paper.
  • Flatten them into sheets.
  • Leave them out to dry under the sun.
  • Then, a machine presses them into form.


Andres Benavides, Barona’s husband and co-founder of Lifepack, added “We were not just designing a biodegradable plate. We wanted to go further and create a plate that generates life.”

Like most countries worldwide, Colombia is making efforts to reduce plastic waste. In some cities, informal “pickers” who collect recyclable materials from the trash are now employed as municipal workers. In 2017, the country also introduced a tax on single-use plastics that increases yearly.

The United States creates the most plastic waste in the world. One study shows that Americans’ contribution to global plastic waste has been vastly underestimated and is actually five times greater. On average, one American throw away 150 single-use cups and plates per year. That accumulates to over one million tons of plates — about the same weight as two Nimitz class aircraft carriers.

Những chiếc đĩa chứa hạt giống của Lifepack
Những chiếc đĩa chứa hạt giống của Lifepack

Most of that plastic waste is non-recyclable and ends up in landfills or our oceans. However, getting consumers to buy eco-friendly, biodegradable products is challenging. “When we started out a decade ago, people told us we were crazy. Here in Colombia, people were not very environmentally aware, and everyone just wanted to use whatever was cheapest,” Barona recalled.

One of the main reasons why consumers end up buying plastic over biodegradable is it’s cheaper. Lifepack’s plates cost roughly $2.50 per dozen — more than double the plastic plates’ price from a store in Colombia. Regardless, as consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious, Lifepack has capitalized on the growing demand for sustainable packaging, despite the higher price.

Since the company launched, demand has increased by up to 40%. Now, Lifepack’s plates are sold in three supermarket chains locally, and the company delivers dozens of orders via its website every week, with several customers in the USA.

Benavides explained “In an eight-hour shift, we can make anywhere from 6,000 to 12,000 plates. Currently, there is more demand than what we can supply, so we are sold out. But that means there’s a positive response from clients, and there’s a market for our product.”

Lifepack plans to update its equipment to increase production and eventually franchise the business and expand worldwide to help more countries reduce plastic waste.


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