As the idea around reducing single use plastic continues to expand and the zero-waste movement grabs hold throughout our community, innovation begins to reveal some very cool new products. Introducing Dryleaf: a company committed to fighting against single-use, disposable dinnerware by bringing an eco-friendly, biodegradable and affordable solution for homes, businesses and restaurants. Their solution came from an ancient practice that has been in use for more than 1000 years. Areca leaf plates and bowls are made from disposable Areca Palm leaf leaves that come from a 100% natural source.
Dryleaf is leading the charge in the world of single-use dinnerware. They are also one of our partners in our BYOC-ontainer program we are launching!
Hardik Pandya, Founder of Dryleaf tells us his story and how Dryleaf came to be.
TRY DRYLEAF TODAY: Us the coupon code LOVELEAF for 10% off on minimum purchase of $49.86
1. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your products and how your company came about?
I came to Canada in 2010 as an international student and journey from student to Startup has been incredible since then. Apart from founding Dryleaf, I am a supply chain professional in Canada’s leading retail company. I grew up in family where giving back to community is inherit, my dad was social activist and I am always inspired by his work. When I moved from Toronto to Calgary in 2012, I felt blessed by the natural beauty of Alberta. Hiking the mountains has become a regular activity for me as I love nature. However, I have seen increasing amount of waste in these natural settings and seeing the drastic images and articles of wild animals eating this waste, specifically from the left-over plastic dinnerware of visitors or campers left me frustrated.
I also began to question how we can be so health conscious about our food and lifestyle; paying attention to what we eat, drink, and exercise, but not really pay attention in what we are eating from? Do we really notice what we are using to serve our food and how it will end up impacting on environment and other species or even for our own health? We have changed our food but not our plates. As research has proven consuming food in plastic or Styrofoam is very harmful to our health. Polystyrene can leach into food and drink and has been found to contain cancer chemicals especially when it is heated.
I began looking for right alternative to help solve all of these problems: Dryleaf was born. The concept of Dryleaf is derived from old ancient Indian method of 100% natural, chemical free tableware made from fallen leaf.
As I am also committed to giving back my community, here in Calgary in back in India, Dryleaf has committed to provide a better life by empowering the women in rural area of India by giving them employment and support.
2. What is your biggest driver for being sustainable?
Plastic pollution in ocean has become one of the most serious challenges to our planet. It is impacting our food supply, wildlife, human health and environment in general and based on the estimate, each year over 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans. It is also polluting our landfilled and air quality. As Robert Swan says, ” The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will make it better”. In my opinion being sustainable is not as hard as people imagine, it takes little small changes in our day to day activities. I also believe that being sustainable will no longer be an option, it will be the only available way. The important question is are we going to make the transition towards sustainability as is still in our hand or will be forced to make a rapid transition when all the other options finally run out. We have one planet to live by and live for.
3. How would you differentiate your products from other sustainable alternatives? What sets them apart?
We take extreme pride in our products as they are 100 % natural and simply made from fallen leaf sheaths compared to the other options. The process to create our products is very simple and natural as it does not require any harmful chemicals or intense processing to be created. The leaves fall naturally from a tree and our workers collect them from ground. Once collected, the leaves are cleaned with water and set out to dry under the sun light for two to three days before going through manufacturing process of molding and converting the dried leaves into the desire plates and bowls sizes.
Dryleaf products are perfect example of zero waste because they can be easily composted, breaking down naturally within 60 to 70 days and acting as a fertilizer after disposal, while many other products required facility disposable process & take longer time to compost.
Our products are made with renewable sources without causing any harm or destruction to the environment. We never pluck any leaf; we only use leaves after they have fallen naturally. Most disposable dinnerware options can create massive agricultural waste and require cutting down trees or bamboo for the raw material. Paper and pulp plates are most often manufactured by adding chemicals to make it white which is again very harmful chemical for human body as well.
Our products can be made into different shapes and forms according to the purpose intended. Our disposable, environmentally-friendly tableware, and upcoming dining accessories are designed especially for today’s audience in mind. They are microwave & freezer safe, sturdy and very trendy.
5. What is one thing you have done at your company to drive sustainability that other businesses could replicate as best practice?
I believe before going to change anything one has to start from his/her own home and therefore paying attention to small activity can lead big impact for any company. Even being in the start-up phase, we try to make our day to day activity as sustainable as we could including using Dryleaf’s plates for gatherings & cafeteria, providing samples in eco friendly tissue bags, trying to use more digital documents than paper. In our manufacturing unit, we are planning to install solar based panels to support our electricity requirements and working on changing our packaging to make it more sustainable. In my opinion every business no matter small or big should make it necessary to turn off the un use devices after working hours.
6. What have you done outside of work to live a more sustainable life?
Since my childhood, I grew up seeing my parents using more sustainable methods including their shopping behaviour and avoiding non-reusable products as much as they can such as using own shopping bags for groceries, bringing non-plastic coffee cup to work, carefully consuming water, trying to turn off lights when leaving room to save energy, recycling old newspaper, magazines etc. has become my habits for day to day activity. Apart from this I was very much involved in tree plantation NGO in India.
7. Which sustainable action or change you’ve made in your life are you most proud of?
Changing from my habit of bringing coffee cup at work, my other most guilty habit was using plastic cutlery from the cafeteria at work. I changed that habit to bringing stainless steel cutlery from home and felt proud when I realised I have at least reduced my plastic use by almost 40 to 50 spoons/forks in a month. We can imagine if more people adopt this concept it would be so much waste reduction.
8. What is your “guilty” habit that just isn’t very sustainable? How do you plan to change it if you could?
When I order something from restaurants and receive it served into Styrofoam containers, it makes me feel guiltier after knowing its impact on us and environment, similarly by using plastic straws when there is no alternative available is the most guilt habit one could have. We at Dryleaf are working to change this guilt by bringing take out containers made from fallen leaf and planning to increase our product line by adding better alternative of plastic straws as well.
9. In one phrase, what does sustainability mean to you?
“Consume as per your need and not as per your greed”
10. Can you provide three top tips for others trying to lead more sustainable lives and reduce their waste?
As I mentioned earlier changing few small things can make big difference, following three are very basic day to day activity any one can implement instantly to live more sustainable life and reduce waste.
- First and very easy is to try avoiding use of plastic bags for groceries instead take your own clothing bags if possible, like right now!
- Turn off your lights when you leave a room and shut down the electronic devices when not in use.
- Try to change your mail such as bank statements, monthly bill etc. to an electronic copy instead of paper and say no to Junk mail.
TRY DRYLEAF TODAY: Us the coupon code LOVELEAF for 10% off on minimum purchase of $49.86
Check out the Dryleaf Team’s crowdfunding video to learn more and meet the people behind this awesome initiative!