Is Using Plastic Utensils More Sanitary When Dining at a Restaurant?
The use of plastic utensils by restaurants soared during the pandemic. Due to their cost-effectiveness, some restaurants have continued to serve food in plastic utensils. Because it never had much research backing it, the practice has been ongoing since it was made mainstream. So, what’s the truth? Is it actually a more sanitary practice or is it just a hoax planted by the leading manufacturers of plastic cutlery? Let’s discuss both the harms and benefits of using plastic utensils for serving food.
Are There Any Harms To Using Plastic Utensils?
- Bigger environmental footprint
Most types of plastic cutlery items and other utensils can’t be recycled and have to be thrown away. These plastics often end up in forests and water bodies. Marine and wildlife can mistake these plastic items for food and may even choke to death on them.
It can take plastic items up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. On top of it, the rate at which we produce plastic is quite high. This is why we only suggest using biodegradable plastic that degrades in a much shorter time.
Plastic utensils made out of Teflon and PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) flake off at higher temperatures. Serving hot food in such utensils means that you’ll also be consuming some of that plastic with it. Standard plastic items such as PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) are meant for only one-time use so you shouldn’t be reusing or heating them either.
If you’re going to a restaurant and they serve food in plastic utensils, make sure your food is being served in HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) utensils. These have a high melting point and excellent tensile strength.
Using Plastic Utensils When Dining at a Restaurant: What Are the Benefits?
- Low cost
Disposable cutlery costs one-tenth of what standard stainless steel cutlery costs. Also, since these utensils are only meant for one-time use, restaurants don’t have to invest in getting their utensils washed on a regular basis.
Plastic utensils are for mono use only and come wrapped. This makes them excellent to be used in hospitals and labs where the chances of contamination are high. Plus, since they aren’t left in the open and haven’t been touched before, it automatically makes them less susceptible to germs.
When there’s a food festival, where there are thousands of people, it’s not practical for restaurants to ship in their expensive cutlery in large amounts. This is when disposable plastic utensils come in handy!
If you’re arranging a party and running short on cutlery, you can just go to your nearest store and grab some of that disposable cutlery.
We’ve all hosted a dinner when we didn’t have uniform tableware. Thanks to disposable tableware, you can just buy it in bulk so everybody has the same plates, forks and spoons.
Unlike popular opinion, plastic utensils can be biodegradable. They’re just different from your standard PET plastic products and degrade in the environment quickly. If you’re planning to go for plastic utensils for sanitary reasons, we only suggest buying biodegradable utensils.
Since plastic utensils come wrapped up and are rarely exposed to dust, germs and human touch, they’re usually cleaner than regular tableware. But before you go on and purchase them, remember to opt for utensils made out of HDPE only so you’re not exposed to toxins while enjoying your food. We also suggest that you be mindful of the environment and only opt for biodegradable utensils.