Can You Microwave Disposable Plates and Cups?

Can You Microwave Disposable Plates and Cups?

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Colorful Disposable Tableware
Disposable plates and cups with polka dot design

When you are planning to throw a party for your kids, disposable cups and plates can be a life saver.

Using disposable plates and cups is not only convenient; it also prevents the possibility of breaking ceramic plates and glasses. But then again, are they safe to use in the microwave? That depends on the material. Paper plates and cups are microwave oven safe because paper does not have a tendency to be on fire in the microwave. However, plastic is flammable. Therefore, plastic plates and cups cannot be used in the microwave.

Disposable plates and cups make having a picnic, camping, as well as throwing a party effortless. Plus, they are inexpensive, too! Also, aside from the fact that they are safe to use in the microwave, you also won’t have to do the tiring task of washing the dishes anymore when the party is over because they are disposable.

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To Microwave or Not to Microwave

Microwave Oven Safe Label
Microwave Oven Safe Label

In general, disposable paper plates are safe to use for reheating food in the microwave. But then again, you need to be extra careful and practice caution to avoid danger.

On the other hand, while there are plain paper plates and cups, there are also ones which are colored and covered with a thin coating of plastic. So when you have to reheat food in the microwave, stick to using plain paper plates instead of using those that are printed.

That is because decorated paper plates coated with plastic are at risk of burning in the microwave since the plastic and the ink that were used in printing them are most likely flammable.

In addition, because of the heat from the microwave oven, Phthalates and Bisphenol A. (more commonly known as BPA) in the plastic plates and cups can leak into the food or beverage that you are reheating.

For that reason, you must keep away from reheating food or drinks using disposable plastic plates and cups.

But if you want to make sure if the disposable plates or cups you are using are microwave oven safe, you may perhaps perform this test:

  • Along with a bowl of water, place the disposable plate or cup in the microwave oven.
  • Set it on high for around one minute.
  • Look if the disposable plate or cup is hot.
  • If yes, then it is not microwave oven safe.

In essence, there are disposable plates and cups which are microwave oven safe, while some can catch fire in the microwave. Because of that, it’s important for you to know which type of disposable plates and cups you can and cannot microwave.

Microwaveable

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Non-microwaveable

Pros of Using Disposable Plates and Cups

Themed Disposable Plates and Cups
Themed Disposable Plates and Cups
  • They are biodegradable and can be recycled, so using them is an effective way of reducing carbon footprint.
  • They save energy and water.
  • Using disposable plates and cups is more hygienic. It reduces the risk of spreading communicable diseases.
  • They are lightweight.
  • For parties or events that have a theme, you can always look for a disposable tableware design that matches the theme of the event or party.
  • They are affordable and more economical.
  • Using paper plates and other paper food containers save you from washing the dishes because they do not require washing and are easy to clean up.
  • Their usage reduces the risk of breaking ceramic plates and other tableware.
  • They can be disposed of easily.
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600 Piece Silver Dinnerware Set – 200 White and Silver Plastic Plates – Set of 300 Silver...

Cons of Using Disposable Plates and Cups

Woman Buying Disposable Plates and Cups
Woman Buying Disposable Plates and Cups
  • Extra storage in the pantry is needed to store them.
  • They bend, especially paper plates.
  • Disposable plates and cups do not last for years as they are good for one-time use only.
  • Yet, plastic plates and cups take almost forever to decompose.
  • It is not easy to eat with disposable utensils because they break easily, especially if they are not durable enough to tear or slice the food that you are eating.
  • Microwaving plastic plates and cups that have scratches are more prone to chemical leaching.
  • Because some disposable plates and cups are only made of paper and are sometimes too thin, it is not ideal to use them, especially for greasy or saucy food.
  • Using disposable plates and cups means having more garbage. In fact, their usage creates more trash, which is not good for the environment.
  • You need extra time to go to the grocery store to buy disposable plates and cups.
  • Plastic plates and cups are not safe for human health.

Where do Disposable Plates and Cups Go?

Even if they are good for one-time use only, disposable plates and cups do not easily dematerialize. When you throw them in the trash or garbage bins, they will be brought to a landfill. There, it will take them from 10 up to 100 years to decompose.

As soon as these disposable plates and cups begin to decompose, they release hydrocarbons, which are dangerous. Hydrocarbons, when inhaled, can cause respiratory problems or even permanent and irreversible damage to the lungs.

However, if you are thinking of reusing disposable plates and cups, don’t do it. When you wash disposables, especially plastic ones, their materials break down. This process makes chemicals leak into the food that you eat.

Interesting Facts You didn’t Know about Disposable Plates and Cups

Disposable Plates and Cups Made from Bamboo
Disposable Plates and Cups Made from Bamboo
  • Each year, people from around the world use 16 billion plastic-coated, disposable coffee cups.
  • More than 400 billion plastic containers around the world are sold each year.
  • People began to use paper plates and cups in 1904.
  • They are made out of plant fibers. Some manufacturers are even starting to produce disposable plates and cups which are made out of bamboo.
  • There are paper plates which are made completely out of fallen leaves and water. The company that manufactures this kind of paper plates is Verterra.
  • Every year, 500 billion plastic cups are used worldwide.
  • Plastic plates and cups cannot be easily recycled in Australia.
  • There are disposable plates and cups which are made from sugar canes.
  • 25 billion Styrofoam cups are disposed of each year in America alone.
  • There is one company in India which produces tableware that is edible.
  • Every year, around four million trees are cut to make 57 billion pairs of chopsticks.

Related questions

  • Is it safe to boil water in the microwave?

It is not advisable to boil water in the microwave for the reason that it has the possibility to explode when it reaches the boiling point and when it becomes super hot. But then again, if you have no other option but to use a microwave to boil water, you must place a stick in the cup to avoid possible explosion.

  • Can you microwave Styrofoam plates and cups?

Styrofoam is a form of plastic, which is flammable and can easily catch fire. For that reason, Styrofoam plates as well as other Styrofoam food containers cannot and must not be used in the microwave. As materials in the Styrofoam melt, dangerous chemicals will leak into your food. 

Ideas For Kids Parties is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc.

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