Disposable tableware includes all disposable tableware like disposable cups made of paper, plastic, coated paper, plates, tablecloths, placemats, plastic cutlery, paper napkins, etc.
These products are prevalent in fast food restaurants, takeaways, but also for airline meals. In private settings, this kind of disposable products has proven very popular with consumers who prefer easy and quick cleanup after parties, etc..
The market for disposable tableware is huge, with an estimated $7.5 billion in 2012 in the US alone.
As is the case for disposable cups, materials used are usually paper, plastic (including styrofoam), or plastic-coated paper. Recycling rates are especially low for paper-based products, when soiled with (wet and / or oily) scraps. The waste problem is aggravated by the fact that most of the utilities themselves come in plastic and thus disposable packaging.
Efforts are made to introduce biodegradable materials like sugarcane, bamboo, wheat straw, palm leafs, or various types of flours (rice, wheat and sorghum).
Introduced for convenience purposes (lightweight, no cleanup after the meal required), plastic cutlery has become a huge worldwide market. Along with other disposable tableware (paper plates, plastic table covers, disposable cups, paper napkins, etc.), plastic cutlery has become essential for the fast food and catering industry. The products are emblematic of throw-away societies and the cause of millions of tons of non-biodegradable plastic waste.
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