Cafes and Coffee Shops

Venus café chain becomes ‘first in UK’ to use palm plates

Sustainable café chain, Venus Company, has claimed to be the UK’s first commercial café chain to use fully home compostable palm plates from India.

The plates are sourced from the areca palm which is indigenous to India and “naturally environmentally friendly” as it falls from the tree and is not harvested. The Indian families who provide the leaves are also financially rewarded.

The Venus Company, founded back in 1995 at Blackpool Sands, now has five cafés, takeaways and shops across Devon and Cornwall. It is today run collaboratively by Michael Smith, Louisa Newman and Lee Porter but was started by Newman’s parents at Blackpool Sands in 1958.

All of the cafés share the same philosophy of serving locally sourced ingredients with many of its dishes coming from the nearby land or sea.

The cafés’ beachside locations include Blackpool Sands, Watergate Bay, Tolcarne Beach, Bigbury on Sea and East Portlemouth. A fourth Devon beach site is opening in late 2019 in Torquay.

Co-founder of the Venus Company, Michael Smith said, “We are really proud of being the UK’s first café chain to use these sustainable palm plates as an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative to crockery. They are multiuse and home compostable, even with food waste. This means it does not have to go through an industrial process with high heat, it will simply compost in a normal compost heap.

“We are completely dedicated to increasing the use of the most environmentally friendly products to protect our naturally beautiful setting and this is just one way in which we can do our bit to protect the wonderful environments in which we are lucky enough to live and work. The benefits of our palm plates are multifold. They will not need to be washed so we are saving on water and energy usage as well as chemicals.

He added: “The whole thing is mainly about taking a more environmentally sustainable approach to catering – using plants and sustainable resources and reducing CO2 footprint. Many of our customers are on holiday when they visit us, so we’re ensuring they are responsible while visiting these beautiful beachside locations while enjoying some great food.”

Looking towards a greener future, the Venus Company will also be introducing home compostable hot drinks cups. Venus was the first commercial café chain in the UK to use a non-plastic lining but will replace the PLA (Polylactic Acid) linings with an new liner which will compost at home.

Venus supplier and founder of Sovereign Partners, Barbara Feldman, added: “We are delighted to have been involved in this supply process and don’t believe there are any disposables with a better environmental background story. We have full confidence that our palm plate producer is passionate about the quality of the items it is producing and goes the extra mile to ensure this very natural product is of the highest possible standard for the user. The leaves are total waste that no longer get burnt, it is a win, win.”

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