The following article is reprinted from Head Butler

Bamboo Stacking Bowls, Earth+

Published: Jun 05, 2013
Category: Home

Because the readers of are apparently considered to be an elite audience — educated, successful, rich — and because I apparently program this site for people who can read without moving their lips, I was invited to speak at a “luxury summit.”

(You are educated, successful and rich, aren’t you?)

(You don’t move your lips when you read, do you?)

It was a strange experience. In a glass-walled room at Bloomberg, speakers talked about metrics and analytics and lifestyles and content and social media. For the most part, I had no idea what they were saying.

So when I got up, I began like this: “There’s a jerk on every panel, and I guess I’m it. Social media? To me, it’s not media, it’s something different, and less. Lifestyle? You don’t have one, you have a life. Content is king? Content, for me, is the Styrofoam pellets they put in boxes as filler; for me, there is only writing, and as everybody knows, writers sit at the back of the bus. And the only metric that matters is authenticity, because in a world of slick media, that’s what smart, educated, rich readers are desperate for.”

And so on.

When it was over, men crowded around the speakers who knew about analytics and social media. Women wanted to talk to me. One of those women was Virginia P’an. She said she was developing eco-friendly products my readers might like. We traded cards.

When I got home, I looked Ms. P’an up. How’s this for over-achieving: “the first woman Vice President at American Express Bank, the first female Advisor to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the first woman worldwide to manage investment portfolios in excess of 7 billion dollars, and the first female Chinese-American professional on Wall Street.”

Well, now she may be doing it again. She wants her company — Yumi EcoSolution, and yes, she’s the founder and CEO — to be “the premier eco-friendly products company for the 21st century.” “

Her most accessible product: the set of five Stacking Bowls. They’re dishwasher safe. (They’re not safe for ovens or microwaves.) The Stacking Bowls look like plastic, but they’re made from bamboo. They’re multi-colored, attractive, useful. They’re excellent hostess presents. And, as they used to say, the bamboo bowls are “conversation starters.” [To order the Stacking Bowls from Amazon, click here.]

The Stacking Bowls are one-offs. The Yumi focus is on disposable plates and utensils. Here’s P’an’s pitch: “Plastics use up to 8% of all oil consumed worldwide, plastics make up 15% of all solid waste in landfills, plastics can be harmful to our health, plastics can last 1,000 years or more after they are thrown away.” In stark contrast, her Yumi products — made from corn starch and other plant-based materials — “require only 10% of the energy it takes to make paper and only 16% of the energy it takes to make plastic.” When you’re done with Yumi plates, cups and utensils? Use them for compost. In 180 days, it’s as if they never existed. Yumi, P’an says, is “the throwaway that goes away.”

Yumi plates and utensils are terrific — they can be frozen, microwaved, heated in the oven and washed in the dishwasher — but the shipping costs on Amazon are almost as much as the products. Only true believers need apply.

But the Stacking Bowls? Useful. Ecological. Conversation starters.


Its website is hosted on a wind-powered server.

Wrigley Field uses its products for all stadium snack bars and concession stands.

Yumi products have been sold since 2006 in China, Korea, and Japan and, beginning in 2009, in Italy.

Each package of Yumi plates or cups saves the equivalent of one gallon of gasoline in the amount of energy used to make paper or plastic.