We've all used paper plates and take out containers before, even when we could have used a regular plate or Tupperware. They're convenient, especially for large parties and meals on the go -- all you do is toss them in the trash when you're done. But how many paper plates can we throw away before they start to pile up? At what point can we no longer the mountain of styrofoam dishware forming in our wake?
That's where Naresuan University comes in. A team of researchers at the school has developed degradable food bowls made entirely from leaves. The bowls use leaves from thong kwao, sak, and sai trees. Using starch, the team was able to make them firm and glossy like the regular ol' paper dishware we all know and love. The best part is they don't pollute the environment once they're tossed away because they ARE the environment. They're also way more adorable than boring paper plates, but that's secondary to the whole not-destroying-the-planet part.
The leaf bowls are simple too, which is another important design characteristic. In order to replace paper plates and styrofoam takeout containers, a renewable dish must be simple, cheap, and easy to use. As far as we're concerned, these bowls may just be exactly what humanity needs right now.