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Leaf Plates (SrĂ­ Lanka, India) Michal Marko / DESIS Lab


Project Partners & Promoters ORUPA (Orissa Rural + Urban Producers’ Association) and SASHA (Sarba Santhi Ayog).


Main Problem the biggest challenge is competing with polythene and styrofoam products made at a cheaper rate than this leaf plates and dishes. It costs around 50 percent more to make an environmentally friendly areca nut leaf lunch box as an alternative to the commonly used Styrofoam ones.


Description & Context Leaf plate making is a village-based industry, which depends upon the local availability of siali (Bauhinia spp.) and sal (Shorea robusta) leaves from nearby forest. It is a widespread activity in the villages of Orissa, employing thousands of workers. Many of them are home-workers working in an informal way, to increase the household income.


Production Process Women appear to be the main collectors of leaves. Later, they sit together in the smoothed mud yards in their village and stitch the leaves into rounds with little sticks. They can be stitched further by machine. The stitched rounds are put out in the sun to dry. Each plate is made by pressing 2 rounds of leaves together in a machine. This work is done mainly by men.


Presentation 1 – arts & crafts