Nepali entrepreneurs ramp up manufacture of leaf plates

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In Nepal, a new company is working to replace plastic plates with plates made from areca leaves.

Kobit Singh Baniya, Swaviman Acharya and Bidhan Pokhrel founded Leaf Plus in 2017 and operate a manufacturing plant in Makawanpur. The idea builds on the traditional use of taparis, or plates made of leaves. Unlike traditional taparis made of sal, however, Leaf Plus’s areca-leaf plates are microwavable and will not leak when exposed to hot liquids.

Areca is also abundant; about 38,000 plants can be found in Jhapa.  “With areca is a commodity available in a commercially viable amount, we decided to capitalize on it,” Acharya tells Online Khabar.

The entrepreneurs say the customer response has been mixed. “Some state that the price, which ranges from Rs. 8 to 25 per piece, is quite reasonable given its quality while many think it’s still not suitable for mass consumption given that plastic plates are cheaply available for just Re 1,” Acharya says.

Pokhrel says some customers still find the plates useful for events, and some restaurants have shown interest. Baniya hopes a planned second factory to improve profits.