From plate to plant: Colombian company sells pineapple-growing tableware

November 16, 2020 |

In Colombia, a disposable tableware company is creating life out of waste by selling plantable plates with embedded seeds. 

More specifically, Lifepack is producing plates made from pineapple waste that can be added to soil and grow into pineapple plants.  “We are using agricultural residues that people were just throwing away, and we are transforming them into useful products,” Lifepack cofounder Claudia Barona tells Business Insider Today. “That’s where we make a difference.” 

Lifepack’s Cali, Colombia plant can make 10,000 such plates a day. Pineapple crowns are sourced for free from a nearby pineapple processing plant, mixed with recycled paper, flattened, and left to dry in the sun before being shaped by a machine. 

The concept isn’t new; the 12-year-old company already makes plantable coffee sleeves and sandwich containers containing seeds for cilantro, amaranth, and strawberry. And though their plates are more than double the cost of conventional plastic plates, the company says demand has increased 40%.  “When we started out a decade ago, people told us we were crazy,” Barona said. “Here in Colombia people were not very environmentally aware, and everyone just wanted to use whatever was cheapest.” 

The plates are now sold in multiple supermarket chains and Lifepack has several US customers as well.  “Currently there is more demand than what we can supply, so we are sold out,” says cofounder Andres Benavides. “But that means there’s a positive response from clients and there’s a market for our product.”

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Category: Chemicals & Materials

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