So I got a chance to talk with Justin from BeGreen Packaging and he was extremely helpful. Essentially this is the information I gained from our talk
Q: What material do you recommend for this? I have come across some companies that use plant starches and polymer resins but I want to make sure that the knife at the end is completely biodegradable.
A: We use plant fibers: bamboo, sugar cane, and wheat straws. They pulp them and make a slurry + heat and mold to make shapes. Plant fibers + heat + water. (PLA is eh, there is controversy over whether or not this is a healthy idea) PLA take corn and starches and use those polymers and use petroleum and chemicals to create a synthetic material=somewhat biodegradable.
You can have the seeds as a part of the handle instead of using a hollowed out form
Mold material: Brass, copper, stainless
Q: How long does that usually take to break down? Does it have a shelf life?
A: depends on the thickness of the design and the composting pile, its hard to say but ball park is about a week to 3 months
Keep in mind:
-How they make egg cartons?
-How to pulp
-Plant fiber pulping
-PLA might be able to produce a more durable product but its not 100% what it claims to be
-Plant fiber will probably be easier to work with
With this information I decided to purchase a case of 500 9inch biodegradable plates from BeGreen. Justin helped me to understand that if I soak the plates in water and turn them into pulp then I can, in theory, re-create the process that their company uses that simply entails pressure and heat using a mold.
This illustration will be really helpful in creating a "makeshift" plant fiber pulper-It is essentially like making paper fom scratch which I actually did last year so I am fairly familiar with the process and what thickness in material you want to look for.
Now, as you can tell, the color and overall appearance of this material is not the most desirable so after making sure the process I aim for works, I will do material studies to see if I can't change the appearance to make it a bit more personalized. Whenever I see material like this I automatically think "oh! It's good for the environment, but its ugly..." I want people to buy these not knowing at first glace that they are also going to help the earth.