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7 Safest Non Toxic Dinnerware Picks for Wholesome Dining

It’s an amazing feeling when the weather is finally warm enough to dine outside! If you’re shopping for non-toxic outdoor dinnerware for your family or gathering, here are some brands and materials worth considering!

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7 Best Brands and Materials For Healthy Non-Toxic Outdoor Dinnerware

These brands are all high quality and the good news is that there are many options to choose from! You likely do not need 16-piece sets for outdoor dining so pick and choose what you need specifically for your needs.

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless isn’t just good for a camping trip! Stainless steel is not only a safe, non-toxic option, it is also extremely durable. That makes it perfect for outdoor use!

  • Pros: Stainless steel is lightweight and easy to carry when moving from indoors to outdoors. Plus, is also dishwasher safe!
  • Cons: It is, however, not microwave-safe, so keep that in mind! Stainless steel only has one look to it so if you want something colorful or patterned, this is not the choice for you.

Before purchasing, always double-check that the stainless steel you are buying has no additives or coatings. Most do not but always check with the manufacturer to be sure.

It’s one of the best options and one of the safest materials as it’s not made with harmful plastic or petroleum products.

non toxic outdoor dinnerware

2. Bamboo

Renewable bamboo is another great option for non-toxic outdoor dinner plates. Bamboo fiber is durable, eco-friendly, and biodegradable. Plus, it doesn’t leach toxins into food and is lightweight and easy to carry!

  • Pros: Most bamboo plates are not microwave safe. They also say they are dishwasher safe, however, in my personal experience, they hold up better if you hand wash them.
  • Cons: The biggest con to bamboo is that it doesn’t do well with extremely hot foods. But you’ll be fine with the typical outdoor foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, and chips.

Choosing sustainable materials like a reusable bamboo dinnerware set is something you can feel good about for your family and the environment too.

non toxic outdoor dinnerware

3. Palm Leaf Plates

These eco-friendly plates are made from 100% natural materials. They are made from naturally fallen areca palm leaves (and are not related to the palm oil industry).

  • Pros: These are also microwave safe and work with both hot and cold foods. They are 100% compostable, chemical-free, and biodegradable. They have a 100% guarantee so if you don’t love it, you can get your money back.
  • Cons: They are disposable and designed for one time use before composting which can get expensive overtime but is a better option if you’re hosting a larger or occasional event.

They have many options including their stands sizes and smaller plates that will work well for appetizers or salad plate options here.

Shop Leafily Palm Leaf Plates here

non toxic outdoor dinnerware palm leaf plates

4. Acacia Wood

These natural acacia wood plates are not only versatile but beautiful. Acacia wood outdoor dinner plates are an ideal choice for outdoor dining due to their durability and natural beauty.

Resilient against outdoor elements, acacia wood plates feature rich grain patterns and warm hues, enhancing any alfresco setting. Harvested from fast-growing trees with minimal environmental impact, they promote sustainability. Safe for food contact and easy to maintain, these plates offer a practical and eco-friendly alternative to disposable options, elevating outdoor dining experiences with style and reliability.

  • Pros: Made of all-natural materials, are extremely durable, and stunningly beautiful!
  • Cons: They are not dishwasher or microwave safe and should be kept out of the sun. They also should be oiled every now and then to maintain their integrity.

These wooden plates make a good option if you are looking for something a little more beautiful than stainless steel. They are more durable than ceramic plates too and made from eco-friendly materials.

Shop Acacia Wood Plates here

acacia wood

5. Repurpose

Repurpose makes non-toxic and sustainable products that are compostable. They have everything from plates to forks to cups to trash bags to make your outdoor dining experiences not only easy to clean up but better for the planet too.

  • Pros: High quality (I use these for large events, both indoor and outdoor).
  • Cons: They are one-time use and I don’t think the forks are the highest quality – we have experienced breakage.

Shop the Repurpose Tableware collection here

6. Wheat Straw Plates

Wheat straw plates and cups are crafted from the stalks of wheat plants post-harvest, once the grain is collected. Initially, the straw is meticulously cleaned to remove any impurities before being pulped through mechanical or chemical methods.

The resulting pulp is then molded into various shapes using high-pressure techniques, followed by drying to strengthen the structure. Afterward, quality control procedures ensure that the finished products meet safety and quality standards. This eco-friendly process repurposes agricultural waste, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional disposable tableware.

  • Pros: Extremely durable and great for use with kids and outdoors. Microwave and dishwasher safe (although in my experience it’s better to not expose them to high temperatures!).
  • Cons: Avoid hot and acidic foods on them to avoid staining and prolong their lifespan.

Shop Wheat Straw Plates From Grow Forward (6 colors, 3 sizes)

non toxic dinnerware outdoor party

7. Glass Plates by Anchor Hocking 

Anchor Hocking uses high-quality materials and conscious processes to create durable and timeless pieces. They have been long-regarded as the gold standard of food-grade glassware.

  • Pros: American-made glass, their products are microwave and dishwasher safe. They are also free of lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals. Suitable for everyday use and make for a gorgeous dinner table.
  • Cons: Glass is breakable and these are not the best option if you have kids, in my opinion.

Shop non toxic outdoor dinnerware Anchor Hocking

non toxic outdoor dinnerware

What is Toxic in Dinnerware?

Ceramics, such as porcelain, stoneware, earthenware, and china, are commonly utilized for dinnerware and have been used to store and serve food for hundreds of years.

However, the glaze that gives dinnerware its smooth and glossy finish as well as enhancing vivid colors and decorations might be toxic to your health. If you’re eating chemicals everyday along with your food, this can cause a variety of health issues you might not even be aware of now.

Unfortunately, the glazes often contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals like lead.

When items are not properly fired, tested, or used, lead and other heavy metals can leach out of them and into food and beverages.

Lead is toxic to humans. Its accumulated presence in the human body can cause lead poisoning and have serious health consequences, especially for children as they absorb more lead than adults do

The FDA began regulating lead levels in ceramics in 1971. Even today there are “allowable” levels of led in glazed pottery, dinnerware, and flatware. However, lead is bio-accumulative –  meaning it builds up in your body over time.

Even small amounts of lead can impact your health when used in your dinnerware over a long time. Acidic foods and drinks like coffee, citrus, and wine can quicken the breakdown of glazes, as can heating up dinnerware especially to a high temperature, thus increasing the risk of lead leaching into your food and drinks.

non toxic dinnerware outdoor party

This is why is it’s so important to buy lead-free and third-party tested non toxic outdoor dinnerware.

Another heavy metal that may be found in dinnerware is cadmium. It is also bioaccumulative and poses health risks. In terms of dinnerware, glazed ceramics in vivid colors such as red, orange, and yellow are common offenders.

Plastic dinnerware, for example, does not meet the requirements, since they may include bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. It’s better to avoid these hazardous chemicals by using safer alternatives instead of risking health problems.

There are also more controversial materials like melamine dinnerware that seem to be safe but are not very well regulated and are best avoided altogether when there are better options.

I also caution against buying vintage dinnerware as you have no idea how it’s been cared for or abused over the years and what toxins it is leaching into your food.

Which Materials are Considered Safest for Dinnerware?

Ceramic is a good choice for dinnerware. When it comes to outdoor dinnerware, bamboo is also a good choice.

Whatever you choose, ensure it is manufactured properly and choose strong, durable materials. Chips, cracks, scratches, and other forms of damage may also increase the risk of toxins leaching into food and drinks, so the better the quality, the safer the dish. 

But don’t stress, we’ve got some tips for you to look out for as well as some of the best non-toxic outdoor dinnerware to check out for some of the safest dishes for your dinner plate set.

outdoor dining table

Additional Tips for Picking Safer Dinnerware Options For Your Family

If you’re concerned about your current dinnerware or are looking to stock your kitchen or dining room, here are a few tips to guide you in making safer choices.

You don’t have to use paper plates or plastic plates which are hard on the environment (no thanks, fossil fuels!) and can still contain harmful chemicals and harmful substances. You can have safe, beautiful dinnerware for your home!

  • When shopping for dinnerware, choose lead-free or lead-safe options.
  • Look for dinnerware that adheres to FDA or California’s Proposition 65 standards.
  • Keep an eye out for labels such as “for decorative purposes only” or “not food-safe”.
  • The less decoration and color the better. Stick to clear or white varieties. 
  • Get a home test kit. You can find them at hardware stores, but know that they are not completely reliable.
  • Avoid vintage dinnerware, especially if it was manufactured before 1970. If you already own these, use them for decorative purposes instead.
  • Avoid storing food and drinks in glazed containers.
  • Avoid serving acidic food and drinks on or in glazed dishes.
  • Limit heating up food and drinks in glazed dinnerware. Do not use a high heat with glazed dinnerware.
  • Hand wash glazed dinnerware instead of putting it in the dishwasher.
  • Do not use damaged dinnerware.
  • Avoid melamine plates, melamine dishes (there are safety concerns), epoxy resins, and leaded crystal.
  • Look for BPA- and phthalate-free plastics if you have to choose plastic.

The Bottom Line: The Best Non Toxic Outdoor Dinnerware

While there are things we need to be concerned about when it comes to our dinnerware, there are plenty of safe options on the market as well. We hope this guide help you pick the best non toxic outdoor dinnerware for your needs!

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.