Gallery: VERTERRA: Dishware Made From Fallen Leaves


While nothing beats reusable dishware for your festive events, these biodegradable plates from VerTerra are a great alternative to yucky paper or plastic dishes. VerTerra (true to the Earth) plates are made from organically-grown palm tree leaves from India. The fallen leaves, which would traditionally have been burned on the roadside, are collected, sterilized, steamed and pressed into plates. The process uses no chemicals, glues or bonding agents, and over 80% of the water used during the steaming and pressing process is recaptured and recycled. Best of all, VerTerra’s plates are 100% natural and biodegradable!

The idea for VerTerra began in the summer of 2006 when creator Michael Dwork saw women at a roadside food stall in rural India make plates by simply pressing palm leaves into what looked like a waffle iron. Inspired by this ingeniously simple design solution, Michael brought the idea of using recycled palm leaves for dishware in his final year at Columbia Business School and after months of R&D, entered his VerTerra designs into the school’s business plan competition. He won the $100,000 prize and was also awarded second place and another $100,000 prize at the DJF East Coast Venture Challenge.

VerTerra dishes are microwave, oven and freezer safe. And, because they are made from only leaves, they are fully compostable and biodegrade in as little as six weeks. VerTerra’s manufacturing facility in India is fair trade, ensuring that production adheres to principles of sustainable communities as well as materials.

$12 for 10-pack of medium plates @ VerTerra


or your inhabitat account below


  1. bamboobuddha January 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I have to admit $12 for 10 plates is steep, I sell the the same product through The Whole Leaf Co. and they are are cheaper than that. Not only that we are trying to make it even more cheaper so that it can compete with the paper and plastic disposables. You have to remember even using renewable trees trees or their waste to make paper plates is still very polluting. The pulping processes take up huge amounts of energy, and then not only that they use binding products which dont necessarily breakdown. Not only that america and most of the western world still gets their paper plates from places like China because its cheap. Where we source our products they get from co-ops run in villages, the process of making them is very labour intensive and provides jobs.

    I am hoping to give people a cheap and greener option.

  2. Joe September 30, 2008 at 9:09 am

    $12 for 10 plates?! They are cool but they will never catch on in mass here in the states at that price. And as some one else mentioned they are being shipped around the world!? It makes more sense to buy paper plates made in the states from our own renewable trees within well managed forests, or better yet from the waste of those trees when they are turned into lumber.

  3. Brunda Ganesh July 7, 2008 at 5:52 am

    We use these dishes and bowls made from pressed leaves a lot here in India specially during festivals and occasions. They somehow add their own flavour to the food served on them.
    I think this is a great idea, I wish they didn’t look so much like their Styrofoam counterparts, the plates that inspired them are so rustic and beautiful, where you see so much texture, the veins of the leaf, the leaf itself forming a unit in a grid that maked the plate.

  4. S.Read May 15, 2008 at 12:40 am

    would buy them if they didn’t come across the ocean, and burn fuel. lots of palm trees in cali. we should make those here!

  5. M2JL May 14, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    That’s a very cool idea. Too bad that woman from the side road is not going to get any of that prize money…

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home