Thursday, September 24, 2009

Biodegradable Peel-off Plates

. Thursday, September 24, 2009

I received an unexpected e-mail from a college student in Thailand. He was doing research for a new green tray for use in school cafeterias and came across my green club website. It's an interesting concept. Check it out.

Dear... Green club

My name is Natwharin Chaisnathana. I am student of Master degree in Marketing at Thammasat University -Thailand. In my second year curriculum, My friends and I have to develop a business plan for a real product (and I has to can be run business in the real world also.) (You can find more information in www.) Our product that we choose is Biodegradable food container such as tray, bowl but we're not sure that anyone or anywhere need this kind of product. From my searching information, I found that some people need their school to go green including in cafeteria and it lead me to found you. Could you give me some comment or suggestion about our product?

Even though it s just a school project but we hope to run it for real in the future if it has really benefit for the world. we would like to do something good to the world and we hope this product can solve some aspect of problem.

Thank you so much for your time.

Natwharin C.

Here was my response
This is a very interesting concept. Many schools currently use polystyrene food trays in their cafeterias. This is mostly for budget reasons as the schools claim that it's more expensive to use reusable trays that need to be washed. I have looked into some alternatives to polystyrene trays such as trays made from sugar cane. These types of trays typically cost two or three cents more than the polystyrene trays. Even though this difference is small, it is enough of a difference that the school will not switch to them. Any new product such as yours would need to be less expensive than the polystyrene trays. I had some questions and concerns for you to address.
  1. How durable is the surface? I'd be worried about forks and knives cutting through the top surface and damaging the lower surfaces.
  2. Would the surface absorb juices, sauces, and grease and stain the lower surfaces as a result?

  3. Someone would have to be hired to clean the trays by peeling the layers off. This is an added cost. Also, when the students return their trays to the cafeteria, the trays will likely be stacked so they can be cleaned. This will get the bottoms of the trays dirty and they will need to be cleaned.

  4. You would need to prove that the trays were hygenic after repeated uses. Health and food safety is even more important than being "green".

Those are all of my thoughts for now. I will send another e-mail if I am able to think of any more comments.