7 Eco-Friendly Dinnerware Brands made from Sustainable Materials

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I recently found myself researching the best eco-friendly dinnerware brands after an unfortunate Thanksgiving incident involving our dog, the in-laws, a long table cloth, and a table full of plates and glasses! 🤦‍♂️

It turns out that carefully choosing what you eat off can be just as important as what you choose to eat.

Let’s Eat First And Talk Later...

Later in this article, I’ll discuss a range of eco-friendly dinnerware options in more depth. Including what to look for and what to avoid!

But first, before dinner gets cold, let’s tuck into the recommendations.

Seven Eco-Friendly Dinnerware Options For A Sustainable Supper

Pros & Cons

Handmade by artisans in Vietnam
Sustainable bamboo
No melamine or formaldehyde
1% For The Planet
Climate Neutral Certified
Handwash only

They Say: Each piece of Bibol tableware is handcrafted by skilled artisans in Vietnam using sustainably harvested bamboo, water, marble powder, and natural pigment. Each piece stands on its own as a work of art. Bibol is a woman-owned company and pays its artisans fair, living wages. This handmade plate will make any meal feel elevated. Bamboo is highly durable and creates a unique tablescape for any occasion. Varnishes and paints are food-safe and solvent-free.

We Say: MadeTrade is one of my favorite eco-friendly retailers, and they’ve knocked it out of the park again with the fantastic bamboo dining range from Bibol.

You can view the full Bibol range here.

I love the Naturel plate. So simple and elegant…and no toxic nasties anywhere to be found (natural cashew tree resin is used instead of glue).

Bible offers an extensive range of dinnerware, inlcluding dinner plates, side plates, bowls and dishes, so you’re sure to find exactly what you want.

Also, by buying your items individually, rather than in a set, you’re only consuming (and paying for) when you need. Better for the planet AND your wallet!

Buying from MadeTrade gives you the peace of mind that they’ve thoroughly researched every seller on their site to ensure they’re as eco-friendly and sustainable as they possibly can be.

It’s also reassuring that MadeTrade is Climate Neutral Certified and a member of 1% For The Planet.

Bibol is a woman-owned company. They treat their artisans fairly and pay a living wage.

As with any bamboo dinnerware, these Bang plates are only suitable for hand washing, so they're ideally paired with some eco-friendly dish soaps that are gentle on both your dishes and the environment.

Pros & Cons

Recycled waste clay
Safe and fair labor
Recycled packaging
Lead and cadmium free
Heavier than standard plates

They Say: Costa Nova's Recycled Stoneware Dinner Plate is made from recycled ceramic clay sourced from our own factory in Portugal, reducing the amount of raw resources and energy required to create their innovative products. Once we recycle unused clay we use a single firing system heated up to 2160 ºF, which creates a glazed surface that is resistant to both thermal and mechanical shocks, chip resistance, and everyday usage. Dishwasher, microwave, freezer, and oven safe.

We Say: EarthHero is another one of my trusted online eco-friendly retailers. So, when I saw they were selling a range of dinnerware made from recycled clay, I just had to give it a try.

You can view the full Costa Nova range here.

I was not disappointed! These stoneware plates, made in Portugal using recycled clay, are of the highest quality.

They’re substantial, robust, and durable. I don’t doubt that, with proper care, they will last a lifetime. Or at least until the dog grabs the table cloth again!

Costa Nova utilizes solar power to reduce its carbon footprint. They also reuse wastewater.

As always with EarthHero, the shipping packaging was 100% sustainable (FSC certified cardboard box sealed with recycled paper tape and packed with biodegradable, plant starch packing peanuts).

Pros & Cons

Handmade in West Bank
Recycled content
Handwash only

They Say: An enchanting whirl of blues and greens, the Phoenician Blue Cocktail Glass makes for a stunning and eco-friendly host gift! In the historic West Bank city of Hebron, master craftsmen use a secret technique to turn recycled bottles into one-of-a-kind art pieces with signature swirls. Fair trade partnerships helped a family-owned workshop gain access to new markets and revive a fading art.

We Say: I recently stumbled across Ten Thousand Villages and am so glad I did.

Just like MadeTrade and EarthHero, Ten Thousand Villages help take the guesswork out of your eco-friendly shopping by doing all the leg work for you.

Established in 1890, Hebron Glass is located in the historic West Bank city of Hebron (a part of the world well-known for its traditional glass-blowing).

You can view the full Hebron Glass range here.

Hebron Glass operates three main workshops in Hebron. It also allows artisans to work in their own homes.

Over 60 artisan work with Hebron Glass. They all earn a fair wage and enjoy safe working environments.

The result of all this is some of the best eco-friendly glassware I’ve ever seen.

This cocktail glass is simply stunning and will wow your guests at your next cocktail party.

The matching decanter is also a work of art.

Both are made using recycled glass bottles and a secret technique handed down through the generations.

Sustainable and secretive. I love it!

Pros & Cons

Sustainable bamboo
No melamine or formaldehyde
Handwash only
Not microwave suitable

They Say: Start your day off right with a bit of breakfast fruits or yogurt in these gorgeous, colorful, bamboo bowls. Each mini bowl is expertly crafted by hand by fairly-paid artisans in Vietnam. The bright colors are achieved by using natural, edible paints made from cashew-tree resin, water, and marble powder. Able to withstand temperatures up to 158℉ (70℃), these small bowls can hold everything from sauces to ice cream desserts.

We Say: This is the first time I’ve recommended an Itemerie product. But they have so many unique eco-friendly products for sale I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.

I love that they make your buying decisions easier with their badge system.

Each of Itemerie’s eco-friendly products is awarded one, or more, of the following categories:

  • Handmade
  • Made in Canada
  • Made in U.S.A
  • Made Resistant
  • Natural
  • Non-Toxic
  • No Waste
  • Plant-Based
  • Recycled Materials
  • Vegan

These cute mini bowls are perfect for my morning granola and yogurt. The small size helps with portion control, ideal if you're going zero waste.

Pros & Cons

Handcrafted with 100% recycled copper
Antimicrobial
Antibacterial
Anti-fungal
Keep drinks cold
Expensive

They Say: Sertodo Copper has been creating gorgeous handcrafted hammered copper goods with master copper artisans in Mexico since 1997. Sertodo Copper is an international artisan cooperative with workshops in Austin, Texas and in Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacan in Mexico. The tradition of their heritage craft harkens back over 1000 years in Santa Clara del Cobre. Sertodo uses 100% recycled copper to make a product that is both functional and aesthetically awe-inspiring.

We Say: No gathering at Casa Miller is complete without at least one round of Moscow Mules. It’s my signature cocktail…and it simply has to be served in Sertodo Copper.

This is a total luxury item. But, in my eyes, worth every penny. The ultimate in upcycled dinnerware chic!

There are plenty of less expensive options if you like the idea of sustainable copper barware but don’t want to spend over 500 bucks.

You can view the full Sertodo Copper range here.

It’s all available from Made Trade, so you know the eco-credentials are beyond reproach, and your Sertodo Copper will be delivered in recycled/recyclable/compostable packaging with the shipping emissions offset.

Pros & Cons

Lead and cadmium free
Handmade in Morocco
Delicate
Handwash only
Not microwave suitable

They Say: This collection is ethically hand-molded with earthenware, a lightweight ceramic that is fired in small batches at a lower temperature. Unlike most mass-produced ceramics, it is lighter, more delicate, and not able to withstand high temperatures. Each purchase empowers artisans in Morocco who carefully mold and paint each piece by hand. They earn fair wages and preserve a generations-old technique.

We Say: The Little Market is another excellent find from the research that went into this article.

Their partnership with Chabi Chic is helping bring incredible Moroccan artisan products to us lucky shoppers in the U.S.

Chabi Chic is committed to protecting Moroccan culture, traditions, and techniques by ethically creating products from natural materials.

They also pay a fair wage and positively impact the quality of their artisans’ lives.

These gray ceramic dinner plates are a masterclass in understated beauty.

They’re very delicate, so maybe save for special occasions.

Definitely not for use when small children are at the table. Or when big dogs are under the table!

You can finish the set with matching side plates.

Pros & Cons

Good value
Non-toxic
Convenient
Basic

They Say: Timeless classic design – Smooth and sophisticated coupe design makes Zungleboo Nari Plates an all-time dinner table favorite! Comes in white ivory "Moon" color with matte finish (no chemical coating), 11" full-sized plates for healthy portions and versatile usage. Dishwasher safe (~160F) and microwave safe (~3 minutes, reheat only), worry less about making the food or cleaning after the food - just enjoy your favorite meals with Zungleboo plates and bowls!

We Say: Most bamboo/plant-based dinnerware is handwash only, and I wanted to include at least one option that was both plant-based and suitable for the dishwasher/microwave.

Step forward Zungleboo and their dishwasher/microwave safe, lightweight, and shatterproof bamboo-based plates.

These plates are made from cornstarch-based bioplastic (PLA) mixed with bamboo.

They’re lightweight and versatile. Perfect for everyday use (especially with children), or even at picnics and cookouts.

At just over ten bucks a plate, they’re excellent value for money too.

Zundleboo does matching bowls as well. You can view the full range here.

What To Look For In Sustainable Dinnerware

Eco-Friendly Materials

You have more options than you probably think when it comes to what your eco-friendly and sustainable dinnerware is made from.

Some of the more popular options include:

  • Ceramic Dinnerware: Ceramic is a cost-effective and popular option when it comes to dinnerware. Ceramic can be heavy and easily breakable, so bear that in mind if buying for children.
  • Bamboo Dinnerware: From toilet paper to pajamas (and MUCH more!), bamboo is slowly making its way into every eco-friendly product imaginable. As mentioned in my Sustainable Fabrics article, I’m still not 100% convinced by the sustainability of most common bamboo fabrics due to the harsh chemicals used in their production. However, bamboo does make great dinnerware. It’s biodegradable, renewable, and durable. Perfect for adults and children. Just make sure you go for melamine-free and avoid greenwashing companies who mix raw organic bamboo sawdust with virgin plastic and claim it’s an organic bamboo plate.
  • Glass Dinnerware: Glass is obviously the perfect choice for your drinking glasses. But more and more glass dinnerware sets are coming to market these days. Heat resistance glass does not leach toxins or change the taste of food. Recycled glass dinnerware helps take your sustainability efforts even further.
  • Stone Dinnerware: Another popular option, stone dinnerware is incredibly durable. Like ceramic dinnerware, it can be heavy, so not always suitable for children.
  • Recycled Plastic Dinnerware: Using recycled materials for plastic dinnerware removes the environmental issue of plastic, but significant health concerns still remain. Use plastic dinnerware with caution.

Ethics

To be truly sustainable, your dinnerware should also be manufactured in a way that doesn’t have a negative impact on the people involved in its production.

Ethical dinnerware brands will offer some, or all, of the following:

  • Fair wages for all
  • Safe working conditions for all
  • Sustainable packaging
  • Carbon offset shipping
  • Encourage small-scale artisan production over mass production
  • Give back to charity
  • Recognizable accreditations and green certifications.

The Toxic Chemicals Hiding In Your Dinnerware

Most conventional dinnerware is made from clay that has been shaped and then heated (fired) to around 1,800°F.

The dinnerware is then often glazed and/or colored to make it more durable and aesthetically pleasing.

As long as no toxins (lead, cadmium, etc.) are present in the clay or glaze/paint then the dinnerware is perfectly safe for eating and drinking.

However, according to the FDA, toxins can find their way into your dinnerware without you knowing.

Some of the harmful chemicals you want to look out for (and avoid!) include:

  • Lead: Found in some paints and glazes. More of a problem with second-hand and antique dinnerware.
  • Cadmium: Cadmium is sometimes added to glaze to enhance bright yellow or orange colors.
  • Melamine: Found in some types of plastic and bamboo dinnerware. Tests on lab animals have shown that melamine can cause numerous health issues.
  • Formaldehyde: Found in some glues used to bond wooden dinnerware.
  • Plastic/BPA: Terrible for the environment. See below for more on this.

Plastic Dinnerware

There is no lead or glaze used in the production of plastic dinnerware…but can it really be classed as an eco-friendly alternative?

The case for plastic dinnerware boils down to two key questions:

  1. Is it sustainable?
  2. Is it safe?

Is Plastic Dinnerware Sustainable?

Plastic dinnerware is not sustainable due to the non-renewable resources needed to make plastic.

Even if it’s reusable, plastic dinnerware will eventually have to be discarded and join the growing amount of plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, etc., clogging up landfill sites.

Is Plastic Dinnerware Safe?

In my article about Why Plastic Bottles are Bad I explain what BPA is and why you should avoid it.

Even if your plastic plates are BPA-free, that still doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe and non-toxic.

According to dishwashing giant Finish, “Products labeled BPA-free should still be considered before using in the dishwasher. However, some companies claim their products are BPA free, yet use similar compounds (such as BPS, BPF and BPAF) that may have similar health effects to BPA. As such, it’s best to check if the product is truly BPA-free before putting it in the dishwasher”.

Most plastic dinnerware labeled as BPA-free and dishwasher safe is probably not going to cause you any issues. However, are you prepared to take the chance? As small as it might be!

Eco-Friendly Dinnerware - Top Buying Tips

  • Look for companies who use recycled/recyclable/compostable packaging and offset their carbon emissions.
  • Buy good quality second-hand from thrift stores. Just be aware of lead and other toxic additives in old and antique pieces.
  • Avoid dinnerware made before the 70s (that’s when the FDA started regulating).
  • Avoid plastic.
  • Avoid cheap imports from less regulated countries, such as China.
  • Avoid cracked, corroded, and chipped glaze.
  • Avoid bright colors (unless you’re certain lead-free glaze and cadmium-free paint have been used).
  • Avoid decorations that are raised above the glaze.

Disposable Dinnerware

When trying to live a zero-waste and sustainable lifestyle, you should avoid disposable dinnerware.

However, if the occasion calls for disposable and it’s REALLY the only option, make sure that your disposable dinnerware is still as eco-friendly as possible.

The SellSage Store on Amazon is a good place to get eco-friendly disposable dinnerware.

Some of the better disposable dinnerware options include:

  • Compostable Bamboo Plates
  • Biodegradable Wood Dinnerware
  • Eco-Friendly Palm Leaves
  • Sugar Cane Dinnerware
  • Bagasse Dinnerware
  • Disposable Kraft Paperboard
  • Biodegradable Polypropylene Dinner Plates
  • Unbleached Kraft Paper Napkins

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Corelle Plates Environmentally Friendly?

Corelle is not a brand that made my testing shortlist, but they appear to have several eco-friendly options available on Amazon. I especially like the playful Star Wars Doodles 6.75" Appetizer Plates, made from glass.

Is Clay Mining Bad For The Environment?

The mining of clay can have a negative impact on the environment. However, the small amount of clay needed for your dinnerware won’t make a massive difference in the grand schemes of things. Particularly if you ensure you shop with a brand that ethically sources all its materials.

What Is Bad About Bamboo Fibre?

I’ve nothing bad to say about 100% natural bamboo fiber. It’s a wonderfully sustainable and renewable resource. The problems occur when it’s stuck together with glues containing melamine and formaldehyde.

The Final Word

I’ve covered a few ethical dinnerware brands in this article. All using eco-friendly materials to produce sustainable dinnerware to match our ever-improving sustainable living needs.

I’ve tried to mix it up with some pricey options and options at more affordable price points.

Sustainable living is all about buying items to last.

Investing in good quality eco-friendly dinnerware will make your meal times green for years (or even decades) to come!

A healthy home-cooked meal served on an eco-friendly plate will nourish both you and the planet.

Get In Touch

Where do you buy your sustainable dinnerware? Which sustainable materials do you like to eat off? Have I missed one of your favorite sustainable dinnerware brands? Drop me a line and let me know.

James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.
James Miller
James is a senior editor at The Roundup and has been in journalism for over 10 years. He was born in the UK but raised in Florida, where he currently lives with his wife and two daughters. James is passionate about sustainable living and environmental issues which are reflected by his work as an editor of TheRoundup.org.

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