Looking to cut back on single-use waste from disposable plates and bowls? Eat them! We did just that to put this wheat bran dinnerware to the test.
When it comes to eating outdoors, paper plates are as common as hotdogs and hamburgers. Grab one off the stack, pile it high, and toss it into the fire once you’re full.
But if you’re trying to avoid that sort of one-use waste, here’s a new option: Biodegradable — and edible! — plates and bowls made with 100% pure wheat bran.
We tried a new lineup of this digestible dinnerware to see just how they stack up to their disposable and nonbiodegradable counterparts. And, what the heck? We also tried eating them because — well, why not?
BioGreenMark Wheat Bran Camp Plates
Manufactured by Polish company Biotrem, this particular lineup includes small, medium, and large-sized plates, along with both standard and oval-shaped bowls. The brand even offers cutlery sets to round out your place settings.
For this review, I selected a 10-pack of bowls ($17.99), along with an equal number of forks ($4.99). The company was kind enough to send along a complimentary pack of medium plates for review, as well.
As luck would have it, I was preparing a veggie curry when the box arrived. The packaging holds more buzzwords than a hive of literate bees: all-natural, compostable, biodegradable, vegan-friendly, and GMO-free. While this is certainly commendable, goodwill goes only so far if it spills hot food all over my lap.
After a brief hesitation, I pulled out one of the bowls, lined the bottom with rice, and covered it with a generous helping of curry. About 10 minutes later, I’d reached the bottom of the dish.
Impressive! The bowl held up shockingly well, with only the slightest signs of softening. Its overall structure remained solid, and it would’ve had no trouble with a second helping. The wheat bran even lent a slight and pleasant flavor to the curry. This proved to be the case over about a half-dozen suppers, without a single spill or failure.
On the downside, I probably wouldn’t have used these any more than twice. They’re replacements for single-use plastics more than reusable, packable camp-specific options. As such, I also wouldn’t try and wash them between uses — as Weird Al said, just eat it.
But How Does It Taste?
Bottom line: They taste like cardboard. Or at least, cardboard covered with a thin layer of curry. The texture is expectedly tough and chewy, like you’re munching on pure wheat bran. Because that is, in fact, exactly what you’re doing.
While this may sound unpleasant, I actually mean it in a positive way. Look, the bowl tastes like what it is. It’s far from unpalatable, especially when covered in the remnants of a good sauce. I’d happily tear and munch away at one of these while sitting around the campfire.
I may not get through the whole thing, but it’s a good way to add some roughage to your diet while cutting down your dishwashing time.
And yes, it does taste better than an actual paper plate.
Biodegradable Camp Cutlery
The cutlery experience was a little different. Composed of 90% polylactide and 10% wheat bran, the forks are marketed more for their recyclable nature than their edibility. Let’s see how they do with dinner.
Not quite as well as I’d hoped. The tines deformed almost immediately, although the fork held together well enough to complete each meal. With a price of around $5 for a 10-pack, I’d have liked to see a bit more stability from this product.
How to Buy
Here’s where things get tricky. The plates and bowls are manufactured in Zambrow, Poland. Biotrem’s website claims a production capacity of “15 million pieces of biodegradable disposable plates or bowls a year.” That’s all well and good, but how do you get them stateside?
For this, you’ll need to visit BioGreenMark, the official U.S. distributor. Fill your cart, make your purchase, and they’ll get in touch to work out the shipping details.
This was probably the most off-putting aspect of the whole experience. Why not just integrate the shipping process with the purchase itself, like the majority of online retailers?
I hope BioGreenMark streamlines the shipping process in the future, perhaps with an upgraded interface. Still, once the details were worked out, the package arrived in a timely manner.
If you’re really dying to eat your camp cutlery and dinnerware, though, you can order a 10-pack of EZFresh plates ($20). But, we have not tried this brand and cannot attest to how it holds up (or tastes).
I love the idea of this product. A bread-bowl meets a recyclable paper plate — what’s not to like? As a proof of concept, I think Biotrem and BioGreenMark nailed it.
As for the edible dishes, I’d say they’re predominantly single-use. You could get away reusing them with dry food, but anything wet would make them a one and done.
Once the purchase process is smoothed out, these will be welcome at my picnic table any day.