How are Areca leaf plates made?

If you read just one sentence then read this: No trees are cut down for the production.

Areca leaf plates are made from Areca leaves! 100% natural, green, eco-friendly and with no other material added. How many products do you know in our world that are really 100% natural and not just a slogan? And how many products do you know in our world that their production does not harm the environment and the tree itself?  Also, this is a byproduct to the Areca nut industry. From one tree, we get two great products.

We can say that these leaves are nature’s gift to mankind. It’s really a majestic tree with leaves that fall naturally usually in a specific period. It’s nature’s gift but just to some parts of the world, and maybe it’s indeed better this way. These wonderful trees, grow mainly in the southern parts of India. 

How are Areca leaf plates made?

The process – first stage

Areca leaf plates are made from Areca nut tree leaves found in southern India that have fallen naturally, on their own. Areca leaf collectors do not cut the trees or take leaves or sheaths off the tree. The process is really sustainable because it does not contribute to timbering or deforestation, and does not harm the living Areca nut  trees. These Areca leaves would have otherwise been collected, burned, and disposed of, so repurposing them helps the environment. The process of collecting leaves also encourages the growth of more Areca nut trees. Areca nut trees have a look that some say is similar to bamboo, they’re beautiful trees found in subtropical climates that can reach up to 20 feet in height.

How are Areca leaf plates made?

The process – second stage

The collected Areca sheaths are sanitized with turmeric and water, and left to air and sun dry. Once dry, artisans form the sheaths into plates and bowls using heated molds. They maximize the number of plates per leaf, and several can be made from just one sheath. Zero chemicals or toxins are used to bind or coat the plates, unlike other eco-friendly plates such as disposable bamboo plates. This is thanks to the entire sheath being used, rather than reducing it to a fiber or sawdust like with bamboo, sugar cane or wooden plates.

In the manufacturing units 

The sustainable Areca leaves are shaped by a pressing machine into sturdy, lightweight and elegant plates and bowls. These machines can be manual, hydraulic or automatic. Round, square, rectangular are the most common shapes, but of course other shapes can be produced.

Family based businesses

The family based manufacturing units, sometimes in rural areas, first goal is to obtain enough stock. This is because the leaves do not fall all year round, but usually just from March to June. These family based manufacturing units support hundreds of people and usually employ women. The work conditions are fair and consist of 9 hours shifts with at least one hour of lunch break. For the production itself, capacity of production depends on the number of dies (molds) the unit has. Another important factor on capacity of production would be the size of the plate produced. The bigger the plate is, the longer the pressing time needed under the temperature of around 220 degrees Celsius.

How are Areca leaf plates made?

Important things you need to know about the production

This is indeed not a Chinese product and all the process is sustainable and the product itself is a hand made sustainable product. The production process follows fair working conditions and is usually owned by small families. The units mainly employ women. No huge companies are involved here. No one presses a button and production starts with big mechanical industrial machines. We depend on nature for this product and availability of leaves. Some years nature gives us more and in others nature gives us less leaves. Reading these facts, you can understand the complexity of ordering and obtaining stock.

To conclude

Areca leaf plates are a sustainable and unique product relying on mother nature. There is no place for miracles and for an order to reach your local port time is needed. In addition to these points, while working with India please consider unexpected surprises on the way such as bad weather, strikes, electricity shortages and other events that can delay your order.

Eco Export services simplify the process for you. 

How are Areca leaf plates made?