From the African palm leaf that falls to the ground, an idea first came out in the middle of an informal chat among friends, and that was the starting point of an ecological undertaking that aims to change the consciousness of plastic consumption by other biodegradable elements. Now from that sheet come dishes.
Four university students between 21 and 23 years old created Ecompake, a company that makes and sells tableware made from palm leaves.
One of the main concerns of these young people was the high consumption of plastic products that have only one use.
According to data from the Ecuadorian Association of Plastics (Aseplas), in Ecuador that consumption is between 19 and 20 kilos per capita, a situation that for them cannot go unnoticed.
That’s why they thought of an alternative that, in addition to helping the environment, is a source of employment.
For now its production is totally handmade and personally take care of everything. Thus, after buying the palm leaf, which fell to the floor and is even considered useless, they give it a process of drying and pressure from which biodegradable plates and trays come out.
They also sell it among friends and family, through social networks and according to Marcelo Vidal, partner of Ecompake, it has had an important acceptance.
With a current investment that exceeds $ 2,000, at the moment they manufacture 200 dishes per month, but in 2019 they plan to increase their production to 15,000 units in the same period.
Their vision of this business is long-term, so they do not yet have an estimated time to recover the initial capital.
Mateo Cobos is the designer of the brand and points out that unlike plastic products that are totally disposable, those that they make are totally biodegradable and reusable.
In addition, in the tests they performed they found that the pieces they make can stand a temperature of up to 180 degrees centigrade inside an oven for 45 minutes or in a microwave for up to four minutes, which they say is impossible with plastic because it does not support the heat and melts.
In December, they dedicated themselves to finishing the corporate image and the label, which will also be ecological, since it will be printed on sugarcane cardboard.
By introduction to the market they will offer three different models that will be sold in packages of twelve units. The 10-inch ones will cost $ 10; those of eight inches, $ 8, the trays of nine by six inches, $ 10.
They will also diversify their offer and manufacture knives, forks and spoons made in palm that will sell for $ 3 a dozen. (I)