Disposable Plates and Bowls Buying Guide

Disposable Plates and Bowls

It may be that you need to serve certain dishes on disposable plates and bowls because of a special event, perhaps a party or because it suits your food business needs.  Choosing the right type is essential because it reflects the type of business you run.  There are plenty of advantages to using disposable dinnerware because it dramatically reduces the clearing up and washing up element of running a restaurant and it also prevents unwanted breakage – simply bin it after use!  Of course, there are lots of different materials to take into consideration when making the decision and each material has its own set of benefits.  Some are more advantageous than others.  

Disposable Plates and Bowls Materials

Choose from plastic, foam or paper and here is some more in-depth information as to each type and what their advantages and disadvantages are:

  • Plastic is non-absorbent and comes in different colours so you can create a colourful display if you wish, or co-ordinate it to a party theme or restaurant colours, however it is more expensive than paper and foam and not environmentally friendly. Plastic plates can often look as elegant as china because there are many decorative styles which to the naked eye look as beautiful as a good quality dinner set.  Plastic plates have scalloping, wavy edging and fine intricate design.
  • Paper is easy to store away and often is microwave safe (do check before putting it into a microwave). It is also generally very environmentally friendly and there are many biodegradable and compostable options.  However, uncoated paper can absorb grease and other food and also can collapse under the weight of heavier food.  Paper plates are available in every size from side plates to main course portions and used everywhere from fast food establishments to sport stadiums and street vendors.  Paper also comes in an abundance of colours, prints and designs and can be customised if required.  For smarter dining using paper plates there are PET laminated paper plates which are strong because they are made up of three layers of paper.  With pretty corrugated edging they are a good looking alternative to the basic paper plate.
  • Foam is very popular, lightweight and cheap with good insulating benefits so it’s great for hot food but it is unsuitable for microwave use and not environmentally friendly. Foam is especially used for outdoor eating because it is great for casual dining.  Providing great temperature retention and insulation benefits it is strong enough to serve large meals.  Foam is available in neutral colours including black, white and natural so it will blend with any theme as required.


Disposables come in many different types, from serving plates to dinner plates, side plates to saucers and in different shapes too from standard round to square or oval when you want to offer something a little different.

Trays and Platters

Additionally, there are platters available for premium disposable dinnerware for beautiful looking service every time, ideal for hors d’oeuvres, canapes, appetizers, desserts etc. and available in many different shapes such as square, round, hexagonal and rectangular.


Choose from soup bowls, salad bowls and dessert bowls.  Additionally there are specially designed ice cream bowls and other styles to add to your disposable dinner service such as large capacity bowls perfect for serving and display purposes.

Biodegradable and Environmentally Plates and Bowls

Biodegradable and recyclable materials include the following:

  • Compostable
  • Palm leaf
  • Bagasse
  • Bamboo
  • Laminated foam
  • Sugarcane
  • Cardboard

There are a number of biodegradable products in dinnerware, perfect if you are concerned about the carbon footprint.  All eco-friendly these are excellent for environmentally conscious customers and restaurant owners who want to offer convenience without harming the environment.  The beauty of biodegradable products is that they naturally break down over time.  Compostable products are even more advantageous because as they breakdown they add nutrients which help plant growth so give something back to the environment.  Green dinnerware is made out of renewable materials and aids the reduction of landfill building up.  They also perform just as well as other disposables and there are numerous options available from plates, trays, platters and bowls.

For the best compostable materials seek out bamboo, bagasse, palm leaves, birch and wood which are not only beautiful to look at but good for the environment too.

For further information on Disposable Plates and Bowls visit the Catering Disposables pages or contact the Alliance customer care team

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