Eco-Friendly Considerations for Dinnerware?

A lot of us don’t give much thought to what we eat on. We grab whatever’s available, whether that’s a paper plate, cheap plastic plate from Wal-Mart, or a high-end porcelain place setting. That’s unfortunate.

There are a number of issues you should think about before you buy a set of plates or plop your food down on any old surface. I know there’s a temptation to get whatever seems cheapest, but it’s important to consider all the angles before you decide how you cast your dollar vote. Below, I’ve laid out some of the things you should consider:

    • Does it last? – Obviously, paper and styrofoam plates aren’t an eco-friendly choice. Even if you recycle, they still take a toll on the environment in the form of transport, dead trees, and energy needed to recycle them later.
    • What’s it made of? – Plastics can occasionally be a bad choice due to the way they’re made. Plastic comes from oil, and we all know how complicated that can be. Some companies are starting to make plates and dishes out of recycled milk cartons (HDPE), and those are much better choices. Remember, too, that plastic typically doesn’t last as long.
    • Who made it? – Before investing in a large set, consider the supplier. Are they located in the your country? While a foreign supplier isn’t necessarily bad, consider the fact that many pay incredibly low wages, and international transport requires the use of more resources to get the products to you. Ideally, look for suppliers in your own country who have embraced as many eco-friendly policies as possible.

I’m currently investigating new and innovative dinnerware suppliers for feature posts to come in the future. If you have any recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

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