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Factsheet: Palm leaf

About this article

What actually is palm leaf as a packaging material and how can you apply it to your food packaging and tableware? Your questions answered.

calender 05 Jan 2024
clock 5 min
user James Pitcher

What is palm leaf?

Palm leaf products are made from the discarded leaves of palm trees. In India, these leaves are collected, cleaned with high pressure water and pressed into a range of products.

Why is palm leaf a good food packaging and tableware material?

These pressed leaves are often used to make tableware like plates and bowls, alongside other items such as pots with a wood-like appearance.    

The process used creates a safe, durable, strong and nice-looking packaging material. Products made from this material are generally pretty resistant to oil and moisture, as well as freezing. They can also be used in microwaves and ovens up to 200℃. Read more on our top tips for choosing the best sustainable food packaging for you.

What is the best end-of-life for palm leaf?

In general, the best option is industrial composting.

If industrial composting facilities are not available, then palm leaf products have to be placed in the general waste bin, which is not the best end-of-life outcome. They certainly shouldn’t be left in the environment as they will not easily break down outside of a specialised composting environment.

Another great option for palm leaf products is reuse. As they’re so durable, they can be washed and reused multiple times. 

Palm leaf tableware
Palm leaf tableware is safe, durable, strong and attractive

Does palm leaf decompose in the environment?

No, not really.

Palm leaf products decompose much faster in specialised industrial composting facilities because they need high temperatures to do so properly.

Therefore, just like any other packaging such as plastic or aluminium, it should be kept out of the environment.

Do palm leaf products contain other chemicals?

No.

They are usually made simply using steam, heat and water—the leaves are cleaned with high-pressure water, and then mechanically pressed with steam and heat into the specific shape, and no chemicals or coatings are added to this process.

More questions?

If you have any questions about palm leaf products or other sustainable materials, please get in touch with us, we’d be happy to hear from you. 

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