Co.Design

The World's Prettiest Paper Plates (Yes, Paper Plates)

And they're gentle on the environment, too.

We've gone gaga for lots of weird stuff over the past few months here at Co.Design, but scout's honor, we've never, ever gotten worked up over paper plates -- until now.

And you can see why: The disposable plates (and cups and bowls and trays) in the slideshow above are to die for. With their sensual, sculptural forms and color reminiscent of whalebone, they make your mother's china appear about as elegant as, well, a Dixie cup.

These materials renew rapidly and are gentler on Mother Nature.

Now for the real surprise: They're not terrible for the environment. Each dish, by Shinichiro Ogata for the Japanese company Wasara, is made of a tree-free paper composite that includes bamboo, reed pulp, and bagasse, a byproduct of crushed sugarcane. These materials renew rapidly and are thus gentler on Mother Nature than the wood pulp used in most paper products. What's more, they're totally biodegradable. So when you're done sucking down cheap Champagne and stale canapes at your ten-thousandth nuptials of the summer (all you folks in your 20s and 30s know what we're talking about), you can toss the dishes in a compost bin and not feel like such a jerk for the massive carbon footprint you've racked up on the crazy-wasteful wedding circuit.

Obviously, in an ideal world, people wouldn't use disposable tableware at all. But some occasions just call for it, and in those cases, Wasara's dishes are a lovely, green alternative to anything you could find at the supermarket. Available here, starting at $9 for a pack of 12.

[Images courtesy of Wasara; hat tip to Dwell]

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