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Disposable Partyware - Choose Ethically

The omnipresent disposables - can’t live without them and can’t keep using them without dire consequences!

You do not want your summer party ‘leftovers’ to end like this!

So, be informed and make an educated, eco-friendly and healthy choice this summer.

DO YOU KNOW......?

  1. Your steaming styrofoam cup of coffee may have a recycling code, but it is not easily recyclable because of its light weight, low scrap value, and lack of suitable recycling facilities.  It's estimated that styrofoam made from petroleum, takes up to 900 years to decompose in landfill.  Documentation has shown that styrofoam has caused starvation in birds and marine wildlife.  Furthermore, polystyrene contains styrene that has been known to be toxic to the nervous system and disruptive to menstrual cycles.
  2. Your paper party cup is commonly lined with a plastic or wax lining to add temperature control, leak control and durability.  Due to wax and plastic linings, very few communities accept these cups for recycling. And you thought paper was better than styrofoam cups!  The better choice is a 'paper' cup made from renewable sources such as PLA - these are lined usually with confectioners’ sugar to help keep their shape.
  3. Your innocent average plastic fork is made from petroleum and estimates are that it can take somewhere between 10 and 100 years to decompose.  And while decomposing it's releasing toxic substances into the soil and groundwater. The two main plastics used in utensil production are polystyrene and polypropylene. In terms of their environmental impact, polypropylene is a better choice.
Manufacturing      1 lb of material Energy Used (kWh) Water Used (gal.) Solid Waste (lbs.) CO2 Emissions (lbs.)
Polypropylene 9.34 5.12 0.029 1.67
Polystyrene 11.28 20.54 0.113 2.51

Source:, 2012

  1. Your traditional plastic tablecloth might be toxic to your guests! When you open your new plastic tablecloth to lay your party table, do you feel lightheaded from the overpowering smell? That is off-gassing and the product releasing chemicals into the air. Your tablecloth is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  DEHP, which is an abbreviation for di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, is a manufactured chemical that is commonly added to plastics to make them flexible and DEHP is used in many products that are made from plastic, but especially a plastic known as (PVC).So what would make a good choice of disposable partyware?

    Aside from reusables that come with the added chore of cleaning and washing up and burning more energy, we have disposables that are made from organic, natural materials like corn, reed grass and bagasse (sugar cane). These products come from annually renewable resources and are sustainably manufactured, non-toxic while in use and decompose back into the soil.

    Do you know what PLA or Bagasse products are?

    PolyActide (or PLA) products are commonly made from corn or potato starch, while bagasse products are made from residual sugar cane fibre (a waste product of sugar production). PLA products tend to work better for cold materials, while bagasse products tend to work with both hot and cold materials.

    Do you know that Element 100% BiodegradableTableware is a viable eco-friendly and ethical choice. Given the correct conditions (temperature, humidity and the presence of microbes); Element products will biodegrade after 90 days.It produces non-toxic humus waste which can be used as fertilizers and non-toxic gas when incinerated


    Element is made from Origo. Origo is a starch based bio-plastic made from non-GM corn and yam starch. The polypropylene (PP) content in origo is assimilated with the corn. PP is added to ensure water-proofing and heat resistance. When micro-organism ingests and digests the starch aspect of the product, that component is fully broken down into compost.

    Polypropylene is a resin-based substance, and as pointed out by the Environmental Working Group (USA) polypropylene is neither classifiable nor likely to be a human carcinogen, not suspected to be an environmental toxin and not suspected of being bioaccumulative.

    Element is also:

    • 68% Carbon Neutral when incinerated, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases significantly;
    • 72% more carbon efficient than traditional plastics, such polystyrene.
    • Reusable up to three times;
    • Able to withstand temperature of between -20oC to 120o
    • Leak proof and hence not a health hazard.
  2. What’s more, debunking the common myth of dull earthy and expensive eco-friendly disposables, Element:
    • is competitively priced to ordinary plastic disposables;
    • comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes and, in a break from the traditional white or “earthy” colours normally associated with disposable partyware, the Element products are available in a selection of eye catching colours ranging from Midnight Black to Citron Yellow.


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