Human consumption creates massive amounts of waste.
In fact, over 290 million tons of trash was generated in the U.S. in 2020. Put in perspective, that’s just over 9 pounds of waste generated every single second.
Caterers, chefs, restaurateurs, hotel managers, and others in the food industry know how much they contribute to this problem by using plastic or styrofoam tableware.
But their hands are tied - using china for every meal is plain down expensive, and it takes egregious amounts of work to wash all those dishes! At first, it seems like the only option you have is styrofoam or plastic ware.
Thankfully, there’s a solution to this frustrating problem.
These products offer the perfect blend of design, functionality, and sustainability. You can enhance your food presentation and let your customers know you care about the planet, all while eliminating the dirty dishes.
Ready to find out how? Let’s dig in!
Why Eco-Friendly Tableware Matters
Humans make a lot of trash, right?
The question is, “Who cares? Does it really matter?” After all, we have landfills for a reason!
The truth is that the amount of trash we produce does matter. Let’s find out why.
What Happens To The Trash We Make?
In most areas, non-recyclable garbage goes to the landfill. In modern landfills, trash is strategically layered with complex liner and drainage systems, allowing it to decompose naturally with the smallest environmental impact possible
However, a lot of trash never makes it to the landfill.
In these cases, trash pollutes lakes and rivers, eventually winding up in the ocean. In 2014, the Global Estimate of Marine Plastic Pollution determined that there were 269,000 metric tons and 5.25 trillion particles of plastic on the ocean’s surface.
The most visible and disturbing impacts of marine plastics are the ingestion, suffocation, and entanglement of hundreds of marine species.
Marine wildlife such as seabirds, whales, fishes, and turtles mistake plastic waste for prey, and most die of starvation as their stomachs are filled with plastic debris.
Does Trash Pollution Actually Affect Humans?
We get it - not everyone has a soft spot in their hearts for marine life. Sure, you may be disappointed if some animals die, but it’s not worth making significant changes to your lifestyle.
If that’s your logic, it’s time to think again.
The vast amounts of trash that we create directly affect our well-being as humans.
Here are a few examples:
1 - Trash Pollution Impacts Our Food and Health
Invisible plastic has been identified in tap water, beer, salt and all the world’s oceans, including the Arctic.
Does accidentally ingesting plastic hurt you? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
Several chemicals used in the production of plastic materials are known to be carcinogenic (having the potential to cause cancer) and to interfere with the body’s endocrine system. All of this can cause developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune disorders in humans.
But it doesn't stop there.
When marine organisms ingest plastic debris, it hurts more than just them.
The contaminants in the plastic they ingest enter their digestive systems and, over time, begin to accumulate in the food web. That means when we eat fish, we could ingest harmful plastic.
And the scary part? One in three fish caught for human consumption contains plastic.
2 - Trash Pollution Impacts Our Climate
Plastic, which is a petroleum product, also contributes to global warming. If plastic waste is incinerated, it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby increasing carbon emissions.
3 - Trash Pollution Hurts Tourism and Economies
Believe it or not, the main threat of excessive trash might not be on our immediate health but our wallets.
Plastic waste damages the aesthetic value of tourist destinations, leading to decreased tourism-related incomes. And without tourism, some cities wouldn’t exist at all.
Even if tourist sites stay open, it costs a lot of money to clean and maintain the sites.
Let’s be honest:
Is using eco-friendly dinnerware going to solve all our waste problems?
But as Mahatma Gandhi said, we need to “be the change you want to see in the world.” As a chef, caterer, or restaurateur, you can take the first step toward supporting our environment by using disposable tableware that is eco-friendly.
What Are The Criteria For Environmentally Friendly Dinnerware?
Let’s say you want to start using dinnerware that is environmentally friendly.
Where do you start? And how do you tell if something is eco-friendly?
The truth is that there is no set of strict rules that a company must meet to count their products as “eco-friendly.” That’s why many businesses try to convince you that what they sell is eco-friendly, organic, and "green" - even when it is not.
However, there are some labels to watch for that can help you discern if a product is genuinely eco-friendly:
- Zero packaging: This label indicates that the product is unpackaged, although sometimes there’s a small label on it.
- Recycled: This indicates that the product is made of recycled materials.
- Low waste: Low waste products are either zero waste solutions or create significantly less waste than their usual alternatives. Most of the time, even the small waste that is created can be composted or recycled.
- 100% biodegradable: These products are made of natural materials that are readily biodegradable. At the end of its life cycle, you can easily compost them, so they won't pollute the environment or sit in landfills for ages, as many plastics do.
At Pick On Us, our commitment is to offer disposable tableware that is truly environmentally friendly - not just a gimmick.
8 Benefits Of Eco-Friendly Dinnerware
We know that using environmentally friendly dinnerware is one practical, boots-on-the-ground step you can take to help the environment.
But that’s just the beginning of the benefits of eco-friendly dinnerware.
Let’s take a closer look at how they benefit your foodservice.
Customers Appreciate Eco-friendly Dinnerware
Suppose you ran a survey and found that 70% of your customers disliked a particular food you served.
You would stop serving that food, right?
That’s because you get it. Intuitively, those in the food industry know that their business lives or dies on the happiness of their patrons.
So what if we told you that 77% of people want to live more sustainably?
Beyond that, 83% of them recycle, over 45% avoid single-use plastics, and 72% are motivated to leave a better planet for their children.
There is an increasingly growing trend to care for the environment. And whether you are a part of that movement or not, there is a good chance your customers are.
Environmentally Friendly Tableware Looks Good
When you think of a red, plastic, Solo cup, what are a few words that come to your mind?
There’s a chance you think of things like “summer fun” and “colorful,” but there’s also a high chance you think of words like “garish” or even “my 10-year-olds birthday party.”
Put it this way:
We’re pretty sure nothing like “beautiful,” “classy,” or “elegant” pops into your mind!
For anyone that cares about the presentation of their food, this is a significant hang-up.
Just imagine using plastic ware at a wedding, a corporate event, or graduation. It might work, but it’s not very attractive.
Thankfully, tableware made from bamboo, sugarcane, and palm leaves is far more attractive than plasticware.
In fact, the neutral and natural colors of eco-friendly dinnerware go with almost any decor and add a beautiful, elegant touch to your tables.
But don’t take our word for it! Here’s a review from one happy customer that used our bamboo plates:
“If I could give 6 or more stars, I would! These plates are elegant, sturdy, smooth, stylish, and environmentally friendly. The style and color are also very pleasing, and they sit very nicely on flat surfaces.”
Eco-Friendly Dinnerware Can Be Customized
Custom dining materials add so much personality and pizazz to the food you offer to your patrons.
Plus, customized tableware takes your brand to the next level!
An exquisitely juicy hamburger, held together with a toothpick or skewer with your brand on it is completely worthy of being shared on social media. And what about a custom coffee cup? Everywhere that cup goes - into the office, gym, or park - your brand goes too!
(For more on building your food brand, check out our blogs: 21 Creative Ways To Use Toothpicks and 13 Ways Custom Skewers Help Build Your Restaurant Brand.)
Unfortunately, there’s no way to customize plastic or styrofoam products - unless writing on them with a black sharpie marker counts!
On the other hand, customizing tableware made from bamboo, sugar cane, and palm leaves is as easy as burning $10 in Target. All you have to do is:
- Choose logo or text you want on your products
- Order your products online
- Have them shipped straight to your door
Environmentally Friendly Plates and Cutlery Are Sturdy
Have you ever had a plastic fork or spoon snap in your hand while you are using it?
Yeah, us too.
Hopefully, there are a few spare utensils lying around, or it’s finger shoveling time from there on out.
Beyond that, they are resistant to heat, weight, or steam of food. That means you can serve wet, dry, greasy, hot, or cold food without having a soggy mess for a plate.
And what is more, eco-friendly plates can even be used with steak knives and metal utensils, which is more than you can say for plastic or Styrofoam.
You don’t have to worry about your plate bending under the weight of smoked salmon or your fork snapping while trying to eat your steak anymore!
Disposable Tableware That Is Safe To Microwave
Not only are these plates unbreakable and sturdy, but you can also use them inside a microwave to easily heat food.
Upon heating, they do not release any toxins or chemicals into the food like single-use plastic containers or plates.
Why is this?
They are free of chemical treatments, dyes, bleaches, and inks which are major culprits of toxins and chemicals in your food.
Speed Up Your Cleanup With Eco-Friendly Dinnerware
Grand events are a ton of fun, but at the end of the day, we all feel the same: tired to the bone.
The last thing you want to do at that point is start washing a ton of dishes.
Thankfully, eco-friendly plates require minimal effort to clean up. All you need to do is put them in the compost bin and spare yourself from the chore of doing dishes.
Dinnerware That Is Environmentally Friendly Can Boost Soil Health
Biodegradable tableware has many more benefits than being good for the earth (as we’ve already seen) - but let’s not ignore the fact there are real environmental benefits as well.
Plates and cutlery made from biodegradable materials are more environmentally friendly because these do not leave behind toxic chemicals or residues. In addition, these products degrade over time, releasing earth-friendly nutrients back into the soil.
Eco-Friendly Tableware Is More Energy Efficient
Did you know that making biodegradable plates and compostable disposables is more energy-efficient than manufacturing single-use plastics?
If that’s not enough, manufacturers of biodegradable products are more mindful of their own carbon footprint and are likely to take steps to reduce the greenhouse gases they produce.
Ways To Use Eco-Friendly Dinnerware
The benefits of using eco-friendly dinnerware are undeniable. But are they a good fit for the food industry you are in?
There’s a good chance the answer is yes!
Let’s take a look at a few examples of ideal uses for environmentally safe dinnerware.
- Outdoor Events: Any event held outdoors is a perfect match for the elegant, natural look of eco-friendly plates. Plus, being able to dispose of them when finished is a must when outdoors.
- Weddings: Even indoor weddings can be a great fit for eco-friendly tableware! If you’d like china on your guest tables, you can still utilize some great products like disposable tasting cups for serving appetizers.
- Trade Shows: Serving food at a trade show? There’s no way you’re going to pack up glass dinnerware for that. But you can still keep it classy and sustainable with eco-friendly serving products.
- Food trucks or food stands: Put eco-friendly materials in the hands of people visiting your truck or stand - that way, no matter what they do with them, the environment won’t be hurt.
- Casual and fast-casual dining: Cut down on the number of dishes you have to do, and get food to your patrons in a hurry!
- Buffets: With how sturdy sustainable dinnerware is, it is a great option for buffets where people often have plates piled high or come back for seconds with a plate that would otherwise be soggy.
Of course, this is just a preliminary list of some scenarios where eco-friendly dinnerware works great.
If you’re not sure if sustainable tableware is for you, give us a call! We’re happy to answer any questions you might have.
You don’t have to be fanatical to want to make the world a better place.
Plus, in doing so, you’ll see other great benefits for your business too.
If you are interested in purchasing high-quality, environmentally friendly tableware, get in touch with us at Pick On Us.
Plus, you can always buy our products in bulk at wholesale prices!
But the very best part is that working with us couldn’t be easier:
- Visit and browse our website to choose the products you want
- Get your products delivered to your doorstep
Contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!