How to lighten up…

Plastic-free cutlery innovation

As governments prepare to ban plastics, onboard caterers are looking for tableware alternatives. Cutlery specialist, SOLA Netherlands, tells Julie Baxter it has the solution

Face facts
As the EU prepares to ban all single-use plastics onboard by 2021, suppliers are hunting alternative materials for tableware products from avocado pips to potato starch, bamboo to sugarcane, but cutlery specialist, Sola believes it has a way to help with its new range of stainless steel products.

Loose weight
The company has developed three new cutlery designs each of which can compliment onboard tray settings but in addition is uniquely light. The first, Oasis, is rounded, the second, Palm, is more square shaped while the third, Manhattan, has more of a curve to the handle. They are all produced in 0,5 mm thickness, and weigh just 7-10 grams per piece. They are produced in the same steel as normal cutlery and have been designed with strengthened necks to prevent bending. They are fully rotable.

Add style
Hans Engels explains: “The main difference in our new designs compared to the usual airline cutlery is the thickness, weight and price. We’ve reduced the thickness of the material we use so our cutlery set weighs, on average, 70% less than a regular Economy class cutlery set and it is also considerably cheaper depending on criteria volumes, design and delivery location. Using steel is also so much more stylish.”

Eco credentials
The cutlery sets can be branded if required and delivered to food hygiene standards. Manufacturing waste is cut to a minimum as the steel used comes in the exact thickness and length required to avoid any cutting loss. The final finish is done by tumbling machines that use only recycled water. Engels adds: “We believe that a replacement for plastic cutlery doesn’t necessarily have to be a dull or boring design or wait for new materials to be trialled and tested.”

Inbuilt recyclability
As to the growing demand for recycling, stainless steel ticks boxes here to. It is a natural product that ultimately returns to its original shape – ore, but in the shorter term can be taken back into Sola’s system and recycled, into new stainless steel – in a totally circular process.