When it comes to meal time, it’s easy to see why plastic has been the common choice because it is easy to clean and reuse. However, substances such as bisphenol A (BPA) used in polycarbonate plastic products, Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and melamine (a hard, colorful plastic common in baby dishware containing formaldehyde) have all been linked to serious environmental and health problems. Non-toxic dishes and utensils, such as PVC-free and BPA-free plastics, bamboo utensils, stainless steel products and glass dishes, can help you to avoid the negative environmental impacts and health effects of conventional baby tableware.
One option is to try tools made from 100% organically grown bamboo. Forks, spoons, sporks, bowls and plates from Bambu and other manufacturers, are a great green alternatives to plastics. They are lightweight, durable and strong. They also biodegrade in four to six months when finally thrown out, so environmental impacts are kept to a minimum.
BPA, PVC and phthalate-free plastic plate, fork and spoon sets are perfect when baby’s ready to learn how to eat with tools. The colorful, no-skid mat-style plate from Boogaloo helps babies learn about self-feeding and table layout—without dangerous chemicals. A company called Boon specailizes in using nontoxic plastics. Boon carries a snack ball which is BPA, PVC and phthalate-free as a durable and fun container for snacktime. Boon also carries BPA, PVC and phthalate-free plastic bowls, bendable utensils and an interlocking plate and bowl set. Sassy also offers its own line of safe plasticware. As an added safety feature, some of the utensils change color when they get too hot. There are many companies who offer better plasticware for babies. Green Sprouts offers a new concept in plastic babyware made from cornstarch. They come in sets or are sold individually. Consumers are just warned to be careful as those with corn sensitivities may react to the product.
Glassware is another great choice. Several companies offer mini-sized sets for training. Glassware can be used for more than just feeding the baby too. When the baby outgrows the bowls, they can be used for condiment and sauce dishes at mealtime.
Low-nickel stainless steel is becoming popular as dinnerware for babies as well. It has no reactions like aluminum can have and is a durable metal. Some manufacturers have created all-in-one sets of plates, tableware and more for babies. This choice of dinner tools is also recyclable when finally done.
All in all, dinnerware for babies has come a long way. Decide which alternative is the safest and simplest for your family to switch to. If you’re looking for safe products for your baby, browse through EnviroCitizen.org’s selection of harmless, eco-friendly baby dining sets.