Using quality and beautiful dining products elevates how our dining table looks during a meal. Whether a smart table setting where the plates, napkins, tablecloths, cutlery, and cups complement each other or a practical set for everyday meals, we all use dinnerware regularly. Apart from the dining table aesthetics, our tableware also affects the environment and our health.
Eco-friendly dinnerware is a set of sustainable and often biodegradable essentials for eating our meals. Unlike plastic plates, sustainable dinnerware doesn't produce any harmful substances that can harm us.
This article explores the benefits of eco-friendly dinnerware. It also discusses tips on how to avoid purchasing toxic dinnerware and 13 sustainable dinnerware brands.
Eco Soul uses an eco-friendly manufacturing process to produce tableware from sustainably sourced materials. Their choice of raw materials includes areca palm leaf, sugar cane fiber, bamboo, and cornstarch.
Eco Soul uses palm leaves to produce bowls and plates. While corn starch creates durable single-use plant plastic, and sugar cane fiber creates an alternative to tree-based paper products.
It’s not only their usage of natural resources that makes Eco Soul a sustainable dinnerware brand. Their sustainability ideals extend through their supply chain. They run a woman-led empowerment program, providing employment opportunities to women in the local communities where they operate. They provide minimum wages, free transportation, and meals for over 100 women in rural India.
Their environmental impact record as of February 2023 shows they saved 24,000 trees. Additionally, they reduced carbon emissions by 2 million pounds.
You will find a plant-based casual party pack for 50 guests for $60. They also have various sizes of palm leaf bowls and plates, party pack collections, and serving trays. Their dinnerware is sturdy, leak-resistant, and compostable. You can use them to improve the soil health of your garden because they release earth-friendly nutrients.
Lekoch is one of the best eco-friendly dinnerware brands, established in 2003. Operating for nearly 20 years, they have over 2.5 million customers. They have businesses in 15 countries, but their major business regions are the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and China. Lekoch gathered the expertise of skilled designers and architects to produce simple and elegantly structured bamboo plates and bowls.
Each bamboo dinnerware set contains 2 dessert plates, 2 dinner plates, 2 soup bowls, and 2 mugs. The plates are lightweight and reusable. They have a matte appearance that gives you a better grip on the plate. You can use the Lekoch sustainable dinnerware for all occasions that involve serving a meal. Also, it is dishwasher safe.
They use sustainable materials like responsibly harvested bamboo fiber and polylactic acid bioplastic. The natural materials used to produce this bioplastic are corn starch, cassava starch, and sugarcane pulp. Their bamboo dinnerware starts at $33. They also sell PLA plastic, stainless steel, and bamboo cutlery.
They have bioplastic reusable coffee mugs and bamboo water jug sets. You can also buy ceramic dinnerware and drinking glasses from Lekoch. The antique dinnerware has beautiful and flowery designs, while the drinking glasses have plain and quirky looks.
Bio Mart is one of the top disposable eco-friendly dinnerware brands in the dinnerware industry. They are 100% USDA certified because they use natural materials like Areca Palm Leaves, Sal leaves, Bamboo, and Birchwood. Bio Mart also uses recycled materials like cotton to produce non-toxic dinnerware.
Bio Mart makes their environmentally friendly dinnerware from 100% of natural resources. You can easily compost it in your kitchen or backyard. The plate designs are unique and affordable. The fish, oval side, round, triangle, heart, and hexagon-shaped dinner plates add a rustic element to your table. They are perfect for camping activities, food-tasting events, children’s parties, catering, corporate events, and food festivals.
The manufacturing process is also sustainable. They do not cut down trees to harvest plant leaves or use any form of chemical dyes, glues, and colors. It is reusable if you only use the hand wash method to clean it. You can use hot water to get rid of grease with the help of some zero-waste dish soap. The plates cost as low as $7 each. They also produce reusable straws made from bamboo and Birchwood cutleries.
This sustainable dinnerware brand uses USDA-certified bio-based products. The founder, Pallavi Pande, is a mother of two who grew up to love the things that connect humans to nature. She founded Dtocs on the three principles she believes bring us back to nature without hurting nature: Sustainability, Usability, and Community.
Dtocs adhere to the sustainability branch of her principles by using sustainably sourced materials. They use fallen areca palm leaves to create unique and eco-friendly plates. The non-toxic dinnerware is free from chemicals and plastic. They are completely biodegradable and compostable.
Pallavi’s usability principle makes it usable in multiple settings. You can use it in your daily lives, at a wedding event, for picnics, and other special events. The brand also created a community of female workers to support women. They channel a percentage of their sales to the education of local Indian communities. So, you are contributing to the education of someone with each purchase you make.
Dtocs has various palm leaf plate designs, like an oval plate set, square dessert plate, round soup bowls, and sushi platter trays. These sustainable dinnerware sets give your meal a natural aesthetic while protecting the environment.
Stone Lain is one of the sustainable dinnerware brands using virgin porcelain ceramic to produce plates and bowls in different colors, designs, and sizes. They have virgin porcelain ceramic dinnerware, bone china, glassware, and stoneware ceramic plates. Their main selling point is affordability.
Stone Laine sells designs that fit right into your sophisticated and classy lifestyle at an affordable price. Their eco-friendly plates are microwave and dishwasher-safe. In their Amazon store, you will find sets of drinking glasses like double wall glass mugs, teacups, and espresso cups. They sell their sustainable dinnerware sets for tables of 4 and 8 people.
Next on our eco-friendly dinnerware brands list is Malacasa. The brand has grown since its establishment in 2015. They have adequate experience building ceramic dinnerware, condiment servers, bakeware, and other kitchen tools. You can find their products in the United States, the United Kingdom, and some parts of Europe.
You will love their classic designs if you are a fan of classic and modern aesthetics. They have multiple categories and designs. Some sets serve for 6 and 4 people if you are planning a party. Elisa 50 Piece Dinnerware, which serves a table of 6, costs $88. The Flora Marble Grey 30 Piece Dinnerware Set that can serve 4 people costs $128.
You can also get 6 pieces of Floral Marble, Elvira, and Julia dinner plates. They also have various types of plates and bowls, i.e., soup plates, cereal, pasta, and salad bowls.
In 2018, Maya established Morgiana. It is one of the few ethical dinnerware brands with a strong sense of responsibility towards the environment. Morgiana also focuses on art and design. They use natural materials like bamboo fiber, stainless steel, paper, and plant-based plastic to produce luxurious and artistic designs.
The brand's mission is to meet up to the tastes of customers worldwide by providing high-quality eco-friendly, biodegradable dinnerware. This includes home decor enthusiasts, art connoisseurs, and eco-friendly activists—their bamboo plates and bowls suit camping, picnic, and wedding activities. There are many options to choose from. The Morgiana bamboo dinner sets come in groups of plates, bowls, and cups, making each set 2, 8, and 10 pieces.
Morgiana's designs are simple and classy, simply eye-catching. The brand also sells ceramic mugs and 18/11 stainless steel cutlery sets. Each set includes 6 dinner knives, 6 dinner forks, 6 dinner spoons, and 6 teaspoons. Their products are Cadmium-free, Phthalate-free, BPA-free, and lead-free.
Gary and Dan Seehoff founded Sophistiplate. They created the brand based on their desire to create elegant and sophisticated dinnerware. The brand aims to inspire people from different areas of life at the dinner table. Since its establishment, Sophistiplate has split into 4 different brands. These brands are Maple Leaf at Home, Simply Baked, SugarPlum Party, and Simply Serv’d.
The sustainable material used to produce their dinnerware is paper. Using paper disposable tableware instead of plastic is a fantastic choice because it protects the environment. It is easy to clean. They also used sustainably harvested bamboo, wood fiber, and sugarcane to produce Simply Eco.
The designs of this eco-friendly dinnerware are colorful and beautiful. Their tableware sets add flamboyance and style to your dinner table. For instance, their Sunflower Table Setting brings a refreshing spring ambiance to your meal. A set of 8 pieces contains a dinner plate, salad plate, appetizer/ dessert bowl, cocktail napkin, and guest towel. You can buy in large, wholesale quantities from their website.
However, do not buy cutlery from them. They sell sustainable dishes but do not use eco-friendly materials to produce cutleries. They use plastic to produce them. Also, removing the spoon reduces the cost of the plates for you. Also, the store accepts installment payments. You can buy as much as you require for your event and pay in bits. To show their new customers gratitude, they deliver orders worth over $100 for free when you shop direct.
Made Trade is a brand that holds itself to high sustainability standards—founded by Cayley Pater and Andy Ives in 2018 to provide sustainable products to consumers. They prefer artistry to efficiency. So, they painstakingly produce plates with quality craftsmanship. Also, they are transparent about their production materials and processes.
They use raw organic bamboo sawdust and recycled glass to produce some of their dinnerware. Their dinnerware sets range from recycled glass dinnerware to recycled bamboo cups, recycled rubber placement sets, to recycled drinking glasses.
Made Trade has Climate Neutral certification, which shows its dedication to reducing the greenhouse gases they produce. As a sustainable brand, they contributed to the following:
They return to Earth as they use Earth’s natural resources.
Our Place is one of the ethical dinnerware brands promoting family traditions of home-cooked meals. The goal of establishing this business was to create products that make cooking easier at home. They avoid plastics in their packaging materials and use sustainable materials instead.
Their stoneware plates are scratch resistant and have a wide range of collections. They also use porcelain ceramics. A dinnerware from Our Place set costs between $30 to $500, depending on the quantity. Also, they use eco-friendly dyes and hand paint the dinnerware. You'll find them in pretty colors like dusky pink, rich charcoal, and lush berry pink.
Aseem Das created World Centric in 2004 to tackle Earth's environmental problems. World Centric started selling fair trade dinnerware after sharing knowledge in various sustainability and human rights topics. They are B Corporation and Climate Neutral certified.
With every purchase you make, they donate 1% of their sales to sustainability organizations and initiatives. They produce their dinnerware with plant fiber, so it is readily biodegradable. World Centric's plant fiber compostable plates range from $4 to $300.
Zungleboo is a plant-based sustainable brand established to protect the environment. Their plates and bowls are made from corn and bamboo plants. Zungleboo dinnerware is free from chemical additives or melamine, making it safe for microwave and oven use.
The store only has 5 eco-friendly dinnerware, and they are all solid colors. They are lightweight and durable, but they are not scratch resistant. The plates cost between $45 to $60.
The founders, inspired to operate in harmony with nature, founded the brand Viva Terra in 2004. The name, Viva Terra, means "living earth." They believe there is no need to damage natural materials and the environment before achieving a beautiful, modern home.
Viva Terra value handcrafted designs and work with skilled artisans to produce beautiful tableware. They promote good working conditions, fair pay, and a sustainable product market. Staying eco-friendly, they use recycled glass, vintage fabrics, reclaimed wood, and recycled metal for their products. Their collection mainly contains recycled glass bottles, cups, and bowls.
Viva Terra also features in our selection of eco-friendly office chairs.
We should completely stop or reduce how we use single-use plastic dinnerware because of its harmful environmental and human health impacts. Here are some benefits of using eco-friendly dinnerware:
Dinnerware made with eco-friendly materials is biodegradable or recyclable. This means old and used dinnerware can decompose in the environment over time. However, some sustainable dinnerware that cannot decompose can be recycled. For instance, we can give stainless steel, glass, and ceramic dinnerware a second life by recycling it into a new dinnerware set.
The presence of biodegradable plates in the environment also benefits the environment. Plant-based products decompose within three months, releasing earth-friendly nutrients into the soil. This helps maintain healthy soil fauna and other aspects of its ecosystem - a far better option than polluting plastic. If you have a compost bin, you can even compost some of these items in your home.
Products made with plastics are a major environmental pollutant. Plastic bowls, plates, and cutlery pollute the environment during production until the end of its lifespan. How do plastic plates cause pollution?
Manufacturers make plastic dinnerware from lightweight and durable polymer materials. They have high thermal and electrical insulation properties. Manufacturers mix virgin polymers with resin and various additives to improve material performance. Plastic takes thousands of years to break down into smaller particles.
Some toxic chemicals (i.e., lead, PVC, phthalates, and BPA) have many dangerous effects on the environment and its biodiverse system1. Dumping plastic plates in landfills after use leads to leaching harmful chemicals. These harmful chemicals contaminate water sources, marine, and terrestrial habitats.
Related read: Environmental impact of landfills.
Land and marine animals can ingest discarded plastic because they mistake it for food. Also, warming and freezing with plastic tableware releases toxic chemicals and tiny bits of plastic. Consuming these compounds is harmful to human health. It can lead to cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive health problems. Also, it can cause congenital disabilities, neurodevelopmental impairment, and impaired lung growth in children.
Using biodegradable materials to make eco-friendly dishes saves us from pollution because they decompose quickly in the environment. Also, they don't release harmful chemicals as plastic dishes do.
Some eco-friendly dinnerware last longer than their plastic counterparts because of the raw and recycled materials used for production. For instance, despite their single-use qualities, reusable paper plates last longer than plastic options. Dinnerware made from bamboo, ceramics, and stone last longer and doesn't break into pieces.
Biodegradable dinnerware is easy to clean and wash grease off. You can use hot water or cold water to wash it. Also, most of these items are dishwasher safe. You don't have to hand wash constantly.
You can use sustainable dishes in a microwave or an oven without fear of leaching chemicals, microplastics, and radiation.
Certain qualities differentiate eco-friendly tableware from toxic dinnerware. Pay attention to these properties when you are shopping for eco-friendly tableware:
One of the most important properties of a sustainable plate is the natural resources used to produce it. The raw materials used to make eco-friendly tableware include:
These materials are not harmful to the environment. The best part is we can recycle or compost them easily.
Sustainable brands use eco-friendly packaging materials for packaging orders, for example, cardboard and paper made from plants or recycled materials. The packaging material should be free from polymer materials.
A sustainable dinnerware brand must have an ethical supply chain. The production process of the dishes shouldn't cause environmental dangers. The business should respect the human rights of the workers that work for them. They should treat them well and pay fairly for their labor. Check your desired brand's production process to ensure it is sustainable.
Also, examine the sustainability values of your desired brand. Ensure that the brand follows the basic tenets of sustainability before purchasing anything from them. Doing this will prevent you from brands that lie about being eco-friendly.
This means you should only patronize brands that care about minimizing their carbon footprint to protect the environment.
Sustainable tableware is the new future of kitchen tools and appliances. Using eco-friendly plates and cutleries for all occasions is one of the plastic waste solutions the eco-friendly community is trying to create awareness about.
However, you might find eco-friendly dinnerware too expensive. Here, you can go to thrift stores and purchase upcycled dinnerware. Switch to eco-friendly dinnerware today. Our list of best sustainable dinnerware brands offers you a wide range of products free from toxic materials.
Prabhu N S, Majhi R. Disposal of obsolete mobile phones: A review on replacement, disposal methods, in-use lifespan, reuse and recycling. Waste Manag Res. 2023 Jan;41(1):18-36. doi: 10.1177/0734242X221105429. Epub 2022 Jun 20.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.