Green Plate Club

Sugarcane clamshells and corn cutlery?

Nope, not lost lyrics from “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

They are products from Green Duck Biodegradables, a local distributor for eco-friendly food containers and utensils.

Founder Jocelyn Tice opened the business last month with an initial investment of $5,000. Her first big order: providing all the compostable food packaging for the first annual Richmond Folk Festival.

Tice says Green Duck is the first distributor in the Southeast that sells only certified compostable disposable food service products. Her office and warehouse are located separately on Hermitage Road.

“I found that it was really hard to get a hold of here on the East Coast, and the companies that distributed were on the West Coast, so I had the idea to make it more accessible and affordable,” said Tice.

Tice says the product line is more expensive than plastic and foam packaging, but the marketing advantages of going “green” are a positive incentive for making the switch.

“If people see that restaurants and events care about their community and the people that visit there restaurants and events, that feedback is going to be very positive,” said Tice.

Prices for plant-based plastic products are getting closer to those of petroleum-based plastics as production capacity improves and oil prices rise.

“The technology is so new that it will grow,” says Tice. “I have no doubt that the sugarcane clamshells and corn plastic will replace petroleum-based plastics and Styrofoam.”

Green Duck is a full-time venture for Tice, who is currently the company’s only employee. She plans to hire additional workers as the company grows.

In addition to cutlery and clamshell containers, Green Duck also sells biodegradable plates, straws, cups, and bags.

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