Restaurateurs are always on the hunt for perfect solutions that meet their unique needs. Disposable dinnerware is no exception. Smart shoppers who are seeking the right option for their restaurant, take-out or coffee shop certainly won’t be met with a lean list of options.
There’s a wide variety of disposable dinnerware out there—so varied, in fact, the options can seem endless and the choices can seem overwhelming. How on earth does one sort through each type of disposable supplies to determine the perfect set? First things first, it’s important to realize something integral to your dinnerware success—not all dishware is created equal.
For those who are hoping to determine which type—based on their materials—is the right choice for their specific functions, this blog is the perfect place to start!
Why Use Disposable Dinnerware?
Before we dive into the types of materials that are available, it’s important to address a few key reasons why disposable dinnerware could be an ideal option for restaurants, bars, cafes, and more.
Firstly, it dramatically reduces the amount of cleaning, clearing, and washing that a business must deal with. This is especially poignant when orchestrating a large event, party, or special occasion. The less time dedicated to cleaning, clearing, and ensuring everything is tidy, the more time can be allocated to running an event smoothly and seamlessly.
Additionally, the likelihood of breakage is essentially non-existent. With glass or ceramic tableware it’s highly possible that, during the course of an event, your beautifully curated collection could be damaged, or worse, break altogether. With disposable plates and cups, the likelihood of damage is low—and even so, if something does break, it’s far more affordable and cost-effective to replace than non-disposable dishware.
Types of Disposable Dinnerware: Materials to Consider
This market is absolutely saturated with options, and yet, if armed with the right knowledge, the right decision about the perfect type of material for you isn’t as complicated as it might seem.
Traditional Disposable Dinnerware Materials
There are several types of traditional materials out there, and each brings something unique and exciting to the table—literally and figuratively.
Foam is light, affordable, and excellent with insulation, which makes it a phenomenal choice for food or beverages that are served warm or hot.
It’s also a wonderful choice for outdoor or casual events because it’s a low-maintenance, simple option that doesn’t necessarily put aesthetics at the forefront.
Though foam is available in several different color options, ultimately, it will always look the same—like foam.
On a less positive note, foam is not an environmentally friendly option and is not able to be warmed up or microwaved.
Plastic is a very common option. It’s highly absorbent, which is wonderful for events where wet, heavy, or greasy food might be served. It’s also incredibly customizable, allowing you plenty of options for marketing opportunity or coordination efforts.
Plastic plates also come in thousands of different designs, from simple and sophisticated to interesting and intricate. In fact, plastic plates can be designed to appear as if they’re just as aesthetic as a high-quality dinner set.
Plastic, though a popular choice, is not always well-received because it is not exceptionally eco-friendly and can cause issues if not recycled properly.
Another popular choice, paper is easy to store, is often okay to use in the microwave, and can be a particularly durable option if you’re dealing with greasy, heavy foods.
Available in innumerable designs and colors, paper plates are highly customizable, which can be a huge bonus for restaurants and establishments hoping to differentiate themselves in any way possible.
Though paper is—generally—environmentally friendly, it is not necessarily always biodegradable (so double check before purchase if this is something that matters to you).
Unfortunately, some paper plates—if they’re not layered or uncoated—can collapse under the weight of heavy food or refreshments. In other words, if you’re planning to serve weighty options, we suggest opting for layered plates.
Biodegradable, Eco-Friendly Disposable Dinnerware Materials
If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly or biodegradable option for your dinnerware, look no further than the following materials!
Palm leaf is a perfect choice for folks who are concerned about their carbon footprint. These eco-friendly options are biodegradable and compostable, as well as oven, microwave, and refrigerator safe. Further, they’re often beautifully designed and offer a gorgeous aesthetic for any event.
Wheat Straw Fiber
Completely compostable and eco-friendly, there are plenty of wheat straw fiber disposable dinnerware options available. These planet-safe disposables are great for both hot and cold items and will naturally decay into organic matter in about 1-4 months, depending on where they’re stored. Unfortunately, these cannot be used over and over again due to their naturally decaying state.
Believe it or not, there are plenty of disposable sets that are made completely out of cornstarch. The positives? These types of dinnerware are entirely biodegradable and green, making it a wonderful choice for the environment. There are compostable options made out of this material, too. The downside? They’re not the strongest, most reliable option, so if you’re working with heavier or wet refreshments, this might not always do the trick.
At the end of the day, the perfect disposable dinnerware will depend on the desired use, event, or circumstance—but with plenty of options at your disposal, choosing the right selection has never been easier! Whether you’d been on the fence between biodegradable or more traditional dinnerware, or are simply new to the concept of disposable dishware all together, we hope that we’ve been able to provide you with the insight, knowledge, and information needed to make the perfect disposable dinnerware decision!