meat and salad on a molded fiber platemeat and salad on a molded fiber plate

Disposable Tableware Buying Guide

Disposable Tableware,
What’s Right For Your Business?

Let’s face it, choosing the right disposable tableware for your event, cafeteria, restaurant, or food truck can be overwhelming. There are enough options out there to make your head spin but making the right choice is critical. Here’s some help choosing the plates and bowls with the style you want and the convenience you demand, all at a budget-friendly price.

Things to think about:

  • Think size! Be sure to order the right sizes for your needs. It’s possible that each dish or course will need its own set of plates or bowls. Choosing the right size tableware is one of the best tools for maintaining the portion control that is so critical to your bottom line. It’s also critical for making your food look its best.
  • Think features! Make sure that the tableware you choose has the features you need. For example, some choices are oven safe while most are not. If you want to oven-warm a dish right on its serving plate, be sure your plates can handle it.
  • Think style! Your plates and bowls say a lot about you. The right tableware can be an important part of your restaurant’s atmosphere. It can play a huge role in an event’s theme or signal to your customers that you care about the earth as much as they do.

There are many different materials used to make disposable tableware today. Here’s a rundown of the most popular options:


Paper tableware has been around for decades. It comes in an almost unlimited variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. It is an economical option and offers microwave compatibility but is not oven safe. It is generally considered adequate for hot or cold dishes although not as sturdy as some options. Paper is not an environmentally friendly choice. Paper plates and bowls are typically made with a wax laminate, making them non compostable.

Bottom Line: Paper is usually a “solid” choice but not spectacular. When elegance and eco-friendliness are not important, paper can get the job done.


Foam tableware has been on the dining scene since WWII. It comes in a variety of sizes and shapes with limited color choices. It is the cheapest option but is not microwave safe or oven safe. Foam is suitable for cold foods although concerns have been raised regarding its use with hot foods due to a commonly used chemical. Foam is not considered environmentally friendly. It is not compostable.

Bottom Line: When cost is all that counts or you’re trying to create an “old school” atmosphere, Foam tableware might be right for you.


Bamboo tableware is a relatively new entrant in the disposable tableware game. It is offered in a variety of sizes and shapes, always in its signature modern look where each piece is naturally a little different. It is not the cheapest option but some choices are microwave and oven safe. Bamboo is great for hot or cold foods and liquids. It is very sturdy. Bamboo products are environmentally friendly. They are compostable and are made without chemicals or toxins.

Bottom Line: Bamboo is perfect for any event or setting when you need a contemporary, fresh look. Consider Bamboo when convenience is key but you have a sophisticated and demanding crowd to serve.
Shop Bamboo Tableware


Sugarcane tableware is one more new option in the world of eco-friendly disposables. It is offered in a variety of sizes and shapes but only one color. It looks more like a traditional paper plate than other eco-friendly options. Sugarcane is less expensive than some other green options but not quite as sturdy. It is microwave safe but not suitable for oven use. Sugarcane tableware works for hot or cold foods. It is considered a very environmentally friendly option as it is compostable.

Bottom Line: When you’re looking for an eco-friendly choice and are less concerned about style or durability, Sugarcane might be the right choice for you.
Shop Sugarcane Tableware

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