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fork and pencil
Types of Disposable Flatware

Types of Disposable Flatware

Disposable flatware is an essential product for a wide variety of businesses. It's an economical option for ensuring that your guests have a safe, sanitary way to enjoy their food and it can simply be thrown away at the end of a meal for effortless cleanup! With a wide variety of materials, weights, and specialty applications to consider, choosing the right disposable flatware for your establishment will enhance customer satisfaction and profitability. Our broad selection of disposable cutlery and utensils offers solutions for every application.

Types of Disposable Flatware Material

When choosing the appropriate type of disposable flatware for your business, there are a lot of different materials available. Some materials allow you to make a difference in the environment and are more eco-friendly, while others offer a reliable user experience for customers.

There are 6 popular types of materials used for disposable flatware:
White plastic spoon


Typically made of either polypropylene or polystyrene in a process known as polymerization

White spoon made of PLA plastic

PLA Plastic

Bioplastic made from a variety of renewable sources, from various roots to sugarcane

White spoon made of plant starch

Plant Starch

A bioplastic made from fermented plant starch, which is considered a renewable source

Disposable bamboo spoon


Strong, renewable material that isn't made with any harsh chemicals or dyes

White spoon made of sugarcane fiber

Sugarcane / Bagasse

Made from a fiber that remains after processing sugarcane stalks

Disposable wooden spoon


Made from the by-product of trees and is chemical-free

It's important to note that some of these materials will not work well when used in high heat environments, or others are recommended for lighter fare meals. Below is a basic comparison of the benefits select materials have over others:



High-Heat Use

Light-Fare Use

Heavy-Fare Use

PLA Plastic
Plant Starch
Sugarcane / Bagasse

Choosing a Disposable Flatware Weight


While browsing our site, you may find yourself asking, "What's the difference between medium weight plastic flatware and heavy weight plastic flatware? And how do I know which one I want to choose?"

Medium weight flatware has a lighter density and is a cost effective option that works better for everyday service. It's ideal for lighter fare, such as salads and desserts.

Heavy weight flatware has a greater density, making it feel heavier, therefore giving your customers a greater sense of quality and value. This option is costlier, but it is ideal for tougher and heavier food such as meats or pastas.

Expert Tip

If you're having trouble deciding which type is best for your business, take into consideration what feeling and atmosphere you'd like to convey to your customers, and the types of food that you're serving from your menu.

Choosing Eco-Friendly Flatware

Wooden disposable knife
While some options of flatware are listed as being environmentally friendly, what does that really mean? Some types are biodegradable, while others are just degradable. Some of the lingo used sounds very similar, but it has very specific differences.

If you're looking to use a green product, reference the glossary below to help you during your search:

Eco-Friendly Flatware Types:

Biodegradable - A product is considered biodegradable if it can be naturally broken down by microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi, over a period of time. This type of product is usually made from plant or animal resources.

Compostable - Items are considered compostable when they can decompose and decay into water, carbon dioxide, or nutrient-rich, reusable biomass, at the same rate as paper without releasing harmful toxins.

Degradable - These products are oil-based and cannot break down naturally like biodegradable items can. Rather, degradable products are broken down through chemical reactions in anaerobic environments. Their decomposition results in water, carbon dioxide, biomass, or trace elements.

Recyclable - This simply means the product can be reused and made into something new and different after it's discarded.

Renewable - A product is renewable if it comes from a tree, plant, or other living organism that is capable of regenerating itself. The production of renewable materials will therefore not deplete the renewable resources they come from. These are also biodegradable.

Choosing Specialty Disposable Flatware

Sometimes just ordering the average flatware separately piece by piece might not work if your food service business has a booming, fast-paced take out service. Or your business may be looking for a special type of serving utensil or spreader.
Individually-wrapped white plastic flatware

Individually Wrapped Flatware

For restaurants with a developed take out business, this is an ideal option. Wrapped disposable flatware:

  • Ensures utensils stay organized and together
  • Promotes sanitation 
  • Keeps utensils clean during storage
  • Enables you to grab without contaminating

Black plastic bread knife

Serving Utensils, Bread Knives, & Spreaders

If you're busy catering food, it can be a great help to have disposable serving utensils ready for use. From larger serving spoons and forks to tongs and ladles, there is something for every dish. We even offer plastic bread knives and sandwich spreaders. Each utensil:

  • Promotes easy clean up
  • Allows for easy replacement and stocking
  • Comes at an efficient price
  • Works great for catering, buffets, and banquets

Small, clear plastic fork holding a blackberry

Petite Plastic Flatware

"How cute!" That may be your guests' initial response to our selection of petite plastic flatware. However it offers convenience and more. A petite plastic utensil:

  • Helps you offer samples of signature dishes
  • Provides a way to eat appetizers or hors d'oeuvres
  • Allows you to serve light portions at catering events or banquets
  • Enables guests to serve themselves toppings or other add-on ingredients

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