How vital are kid’s non-toxic dinnerware alternatives? Consider this…
Plastic dinnerware contains toxic chemicals which may lead to early puberty, low sperm count, hyperactivity, and aggressiveness – to name a few.
Even worse – trusting which “kid-safe dinnerware materials” are truly safe, proves more difficult than believing a toxic lover’s excuses.
So, in this ultimate guide, you’ll bust through the confusion and discover which materials to avoid – and why. Then, their safer counterparts. And finally, the best kid’s dinnerware sets on the internet.
This way, you provide the safest dining possible for your kids. And enjoy the peace of mind from doing so.
In a hurry? Click any section on the list below to skip straight there.
Let’s get started.
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Why Choose Eco-Friendly Kids Dinnerware?
Although adults have no issues with glass or ceramic dishware, kids and toddlers do.
Children love testing these items’ outer boundaries, and then, we all know what happens:
Glass plate drops….BOOM!…Smash…quick honey, get the dustpan!
Because of this, kids often use shatter-proof plastic dinnerware.
Here’s the issue. Certain plastics inject toxins into your diet – toxins that impact your child’s healthy development.
So, let’s first look at why plastic exists, the chemicals it contains, and other toxins you should kick to the curb.
Why Plastic is Used
Manufacturers design kid’s sippy cups and dinnerware from plastic for several reasons:
It’s cheap, easy to mass-produce, simple mold into fun designs, and soft (compared to metal or glass).
But, once you take a deeper look at plastic, a grim discovery awaits.
That being, the studies and the potential health effects of plastic chemicals leaching into foods and beverages.
So let’s take a quick look at the most vital materials to avoid, why, and where to find them.
Let’s take a look at the most crucial materials to avoid.
What Materials Should I Avoid?
Avoid materials like Teflon, BPA, lead, aluminum, phthalates, melamine, and other plastic chemicals… Or, in other words, most kitchen products.
Many of these tie to problematic health issues, which we’ll cover below.
So, let’s skim through each:
- BPA & BPS
- Teflon (PFAS)
- Melamine Plastic
BPA & BPS
BPA and BPS harden plastics often used for beverage containers and plastic dinnerware.
Scientists have linked BPA exposure to several conditions:
Reproductive disorders, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fetal brain development, breast and prostate cancer, and asthma, to name a few.
BPA-free plastics (BPS’s) aren’t much better. These “safer” alternatives can depress heart function, causing slower blood flow.
In lab tests, researchers exposed mice to BPS at typical human levels.
The result? Their heart function worsened within minutes.
Phthalates are groups of chemicals used to make plastics flexible and hard to break. Here’s how exposure happens…
Eating and drinking foods in contact with phthalate-containing products. For example, food resting in a container.
Now, phthalate’s consequences on human health still baffle researchers.
But, studies on lab animals show negative impacts on the reproductive system.
PVC, or polystyrene, but you know it as Styrofoam.
It’s well-known that PVC releases toxic breakdowns (like phthalates) into food and drinks.
Plus, the manufacturing of PVC releases poisonous compounds into the environment.
As if that’s not enough, PVC ranks as one of the most challenging plastics to recycle. So, of course, it terrorizes the environment.
Lead & Cadmium
Lead provides a smooth, glass-like finish on plate glazes or decorations. It also helps bright colors show through the finish.
Cadmium, another natural element, brightens dish glaze colors (such as yellow and orange).
You’ll find these metals in vintage china, Terra Cotta, decorated Asian plates, handcrafted or painted dishware, or plates with surface decals.
When you serve acidic food, the dishes leach faster and at higher amounts. According to the CDC:
Exposure to high lead levels may cause anemia, weakness, kidney, and even brain damage.
Cadmium can damage the lungs, irritate the stomach (causing vomiting and diarrhea), and even contribute to cancer.
Some plastic melamine dishes made in China contain a substance called melamine-formaldehyde resin.
This stuff helps to bind structures into tableware shapes and boost moisture resistance.
After production, bits of melamine stay in the plastic, able to migrate into your food over time.
So what does this mean?
According to the FDA, only acidic foods and high heat cause this chemical to leach out.
So, it’s “mostly” safe.
But, we’re focusing on the safest non-toxic dinnerware possible. So, let’s duck kid’s melamine plates due to the heating troubles.
These materials can leach into food and beverages when exposed to stressors…
For example, hot food, using the microwave, UV sunlight, and scratches in the material, to name a few.
Side note: If You Have to Use Plastic, Keep This in Mind
Look, evading plastic isn’t always possible in modern times. If you have to use it, remember the following:
Make sure your child’s lunch gear has no lead, PVC, or BPA’s.
One way to check – look at the type of plastic used.
Now, recognizing the type of plastic proves tricky – so, here’s how to do it:
Flip the product over and look at the number inside of the triangle.
- Avoid plastic #3 (PCS), #6 (Polystyrene), and #7 (Miscellaneous).
- Choose PVC-free plastics #2, #4, #5.
- Do not heat in the microwave (“microwave-safe” only means the plastic won’t melt, not that it’s safe).
- Do not store acidic foods in plastic. Acids fast-forward leaching.
- Do not use scratched, worn-out, or cloudy plastics for your food and beverages.
- Hand-wash plastics to avoid wear and tear, without scratchy sponges or steel wool.
Again, follow these best practices IF you need to use plastic.
I know all this information appears troubling, but the good news – you’ve got safer options.
Not only safer, but they’ll last longer and perform better – saving you cash and headache.
Now, I believe in choosing safe non-toxic dinnerware that’s right for your own specific needs.
So instead of making a hasty decision, browse the safer materials section below.
You’ll find some valuable info on each type. After that, have at it with our top picks!
Kid-Safe Dinnerware Materials
We need non-toxic dinnerware and, in particular, kid-safe dinnerware to fit specific criteria.
The top three factors: Durability, plastic-free, and no nasty chemical leaching.
To go even deeper, you can look at softness, recycling ability, and biodegradability.
So, let’s explore the three primary materials featured in this post:
- Stainless Steel
- Bamboo/ Plant-Based (Corn starch, Wheat Straw, etc.)
What is it?
To produce stainless steel, manufacturers melt raw materials together in a furnace. Materials include iron ore, chromium, silicon, and nickel.
The finished (and super hygienic) product requires almost no maintenance. Plus, it resists corrosion, stains, and odors.
Why is this beneficial?
Steel’s an extra-rugged choice for kid-safe dinnerware – perfect for abusive children who love testing plate boundaries.
Steel won’t break, even if slammed on a hard surface like a rag doll.
So, stainless steel non-toxic dinnerware helps you evade plastic yet save cash on replacing cracked dishes.
Make sure you see “304-grade steel” or “18/8” in the product description.
Also, make sure the product has polishing… Either mirror-polishing (smooth, shiny appearance) or electro-polishing (a smooth, matte, powder-coat look).
18/8 steel won’t corrode/ rust, and the polishing prevents metallic tastes from invading drinks.
Refer to our PDF guide to see examples of electro-polishing – this way, you know what to look for in product images. Grab that guide here!
One quick tip: Check the reviews of whichever product you’re considering. Do you notice rust complaints?
If so, stay away.
What is it?
There’s a common misconception about silicone. Perhaps you heard it’s a form of plastic or that it’s toxic. Here’s the difference…
Manufacturers create plastic from hydrocarbons – stemming from petroleum, natural gas, or coal.
But silicone polymers don’t come from crude oil distillation like plastic.
Instead, silicone manufacturers blend silicon and oxygen to form this revolutionary material.
You’ve seen silicon as silicon dioxide or silica, better known as quartz (aka beach sand).
Long story short, plastic = petroleum. Silicone = sand.
Why is this beneficial?
Unlike plastic, silicone stays unbothered in temperature extremes. Meaning it won’t purge off chemicals in ovens, freezers, or microwaves.
Not only a healthier non-toxic dinnerware choice, but silicone’s soft texture helps prevent injury.
So if your toddler bites the silicone dinnerware or drops it, no harm done.
Another plus – companies can mold silicone into any design imaginable… For example, the unique silicone suction plate down below.
So, you’re not limited to plastic for fun designs.
What is it?
Bamboo is a fast-growing grass and remains unharmed when cut.
In fact, certain species lengthen 36″ inches in only 24 hours. Talk about sustainability!
Other non-toxic dinnerware labeled “plant-based” doesn’t use bamboo.
Instead, a blend of corn, sugarcane, wheat straw, rice husks, and other organic material.
Why is this beneficial?
Bamboo is all-natural, non-toxic, lightweight, durable, and antimicrobial. Those qualities make it perfect for non-toxic baby feeding products.
Plant-based and bamboo dinnerware biodegrades, too. So, you can accurately call it eco-friendly/ sustainable.
Also, as these non-plastic kid’s plates wear out over time, they won’t lose their safety…
There’s no hormone-disrupting substance hidden away under a coating.
Here’s a quick side note about painted bamboo dinnerware:
Always confirm the company uses lead and cadmium-free paint.
To check, read the description or check reviews:
Scroll down to Customer Questions & Answers just above the review section on Amazon.
Then, type “lead” or “paint” into the search bar. It’ll pull up any question or customer testimonial mentioning the phrase.
With this method, you’ll find the seller’s response to those concerns.
If you can’t find your answer there, message the company to confirm – either through Amazon or their website.
Also, several bamboo plates contain melamine bindings. For heating food, these aren’t the best kids’ plates.
You’ll need to heat the meal in a separate container, then transfer it onto the plate. But, bamboo cups and flatware remain safe.
9 Best Plastic & BPA-free Children’s Dinnerware Alternatives
Alright, now let’s dig into the top picks.
First, you’ll see the best non-toxic kid’s cups.
Second, you’ll discover our choice eco-friendly kid’s plates.
Third, the safest non-toxic baby feeding utensils designed for ultimate safety and comfort.
And finally, the safest non-toxic lunch box for toddlers.
Let’s dive in!
Non-Plastic Kids Cups
When choosing the proper non-toxic, non-plastic kids cups – bamboo, and stainless steel, take the cake.
Both last long, and neither contain plastic. But, stainless steel will serve its purpose longer than bamboo.
For rougher kids, choose stainless steel for its ruggedness and lifespan. It’ll last forever and save you cash down the road.
Then, as your child gains coordination, you can move onto bamboo or glass cups.
Stainless steel Kids Cups
Don’t want to buy new sippy cups every few months while your kid grows like a weed?
Is your kid a thrower, and you’re sick of cracked plastic? Here’s your solution.
We design these unique non-plastic kids cups with simplicity – only two plastic-free parts: Easy-stacking 304-grade steel cups and food-grade silicone lids.
For young kids, transform the regular toddler cups into easy spill-proof sippy cups within seconds.
Then, as your kid ages, pull the lids off, and bang! Now you’ve got rugged stainless steel open cups.
So, no need to buy separate cups as your kid ages. These grow with your child and save you cash.
- Non-toxic kids cups made from rust-proof 18/8 stainless steel and soft silicone. CPSIA-certified to be plastic, lead, cadmium, BPA, mercury, and phthalate-free.
- Electro-polished interior for no-sweat cleaning and zero metallic taste.
- Impact-resistant design, great for the toddler who drops or throws often.
- Food-grade silicone sippy lids to “spill-proof” your cup – perfect for road trip adventures and handing your child juice with confidence.
- Use without the lids once your toddler passes the sippy phase – the cup grows with your child, no need to buy new open cups.
- Wide-base to limit tipping, spills, and mess – save those paper towels.
- Smooth, rolled rims to guard your child’s lips against injury and give you peace of mind.
- Cool, gender-neutral colors that kids love and parents admire.
- Dishwasher-safe for easy, quick cleaning so you can get back to bingeing Netflix.
- Includes four 8 oz cups and four lids: 3.5″ tall and 2.8″ wide at the rim.
We have a no-nonsense 12-month warranty. If there’s an issue, we’ll send you free replacements the same day.
Plus a live text support # to make it even easier!
All in all, these are some of the best plastic-free sippy cups, thanks to their versatility… Although maybe we’re just biased 😉
There’s only one way to find out for yourself!
Bamboo Toddler Cups
Bobo & Boo makes excellent bamboo toddler cups colored with all-natural, vibrant dyes.
Bamboo non-plastic kids cups weigh less and feel softer than stainless steel. So, they’re safer for those who (occasionally) gnaw on their cups.
The best part? You can mix these with our non-toxic cups above and stretch the silicone sippy lids onto either.
Take that, plastic!
- Non-toxic kids cups free from plastic, BPA, phthalates, lead, cadmium, and mercury.
- All-natural bamboo colored with pure, food-safe mineral pigments.
- Pair with silicone sippy lids and transform your bamboo cups into mess-free sippies in seconds.
- Softer than stainless steel, helpful for kids who bite.
- Blunt rims to prevent sharp edges and a wide base to block messy tip-overs.
- Top rack dishwasher-safe, great news for busy parents.
- 4-pack. 3.5″ tall and 3.1″ wide at the rim. 10 oz capacity.
And get this… Right now, you can actually grab a set directly from Bobo&Boo and score 15% off!
Simply click here, add to cart, and use the coupon code: GOODDESIGN15
Just keep in mind, these won’t last as long as stainless steel. Although tough, bamboo can still break.
Something else to note… These contain a food-safe melamine binding (like bamboo plates), which makes them dishwasher-safe.
But, since bamboo cups hold cool drinks and not hot foods, they’re safe to use.
Eco-Friendly Kids Plates
To show only the best eco-friendly kids plates for your family, let’s curb plastic for obvious reasons.
And since this article focuses on the best non-toxic dinnerware alone, let’s ditch melamine plates. This way, you can heat food without concern.
You wind up with three safe, non-plastic toddler dishware options:
Stainless steel, plant-based, and silicone BPA-free children’s plates.
We did our homework and evaluated many products, cutting most from this list. Below, you’ll find only the best non-toxic plates for toddlers.
Let’s start with stainless steel.
Stainless Steel Kids Plates
Kids rough up their tableware daily.
But, steel plates for kids are the perfect non-toxic dinnerware remedy. They’ll keep plastic out of your cabinets – and shards off your floor.
Yes, HaWare’s sturdy 4-pack of stainless steel kids plates will banish shards of cracked glass and plastic for good (hallelujah)!
You’ll love stainless steel plates’ durability and light weight. They’re a perfect size for kids and make excellent salad plates for adults, too.
Plus, you can take steel plates along traveling without concern. They’re lightweight and won’t explode in your bag.
- Crafted from high-quality 304-grade steel with exceptional rust resistance and no plastic coatings.
- Free of melamine, plastic, BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, cadmium, and mercury.
- These rock-solid stainless steel children’s plates chuckle at drops on solid floors.
- Smooth round edges free of rough spots to protect your child’s soft skin.
- Matte polished to prevent fingerprints and ugly spots, keeping your plates like-new indefinitely.
- 8″ inch diameter, the perfect size for children’s small hands.
- Dishwasher-safe, ideal for those hectic evenings!
- Multi-purpose – Use it as a sturdy surface when removing food from the bbq, for example.
Like our stainless steel cups, this one-time investment will last your kid’s entire childhood… As all the best kids’ plates should.
The only downfall – you can’t microwave stainless steel.
Would you prefer to buy elsewhere?
Here’s a comparable set of high-quality steel plates on Etsy from a small local business!
Looking for a divided plate option for those kids in “my food can’t touch” phases?
Melamine-Free Plant-Based Kids Plates
Remember what we said earlier about hot food and melamine? Well, this 3-pack saves the day.
Bobo&Boo crafts their plant-based, non-toxic baby dishes from corn, wheat, and sweet potatoes – without melamine.
What does that mean?
You can toss these eco-friendly kids’ plates in the microwave without concern.
Bobo&Boo uses attractive, food-safe natural pigments. The vivid colors will make a statement on your dining table, for sure.
- 100% plant-based – clear of melamine, plastic, BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, cadmium, and mercury.
- Lifted rim to prevent spill-overs so you can leave the mop in the closet.
- Dishwasher and microwave-safe to save time a hassle.
- All-natural ocean-inspired colors of blue, green, and gray. Go ahead, add some happiness to your table.
- 7.5″ inch diameter – perfect for small hands.
Like we mentioned earlier, you can grab a set directly from Bobo&Boo and score 15% off!
Simply click here, add to cart, and use the coupon code: GOODDESIGN15
While you shouldn’t microwave bamboo kids plates due to their bindings, this dish is an exception.
It’s an unpainted/ divided bamboo children’s plate with a silicone suction bottom… Handy for baby-led weaning. Just remember, it’s not dishwasher-safe (the bamboo can swell).
Silicone Kids Plates
Parents adore silicone children’s plates for three main reasons: They’re plastic-free yet soft, don’t break, and serve you for years.
Silikong’s non-plastic children’s dishes take it a step further.
With a handy suction base, you get the best kids’ dinnerware for baby-led weaning!
With a simple push, the suction plate clings to high chairs and tables. This way, your toddler doesn’t have a chance to launch their meal onto the floor.
You can even bring your kid’s dish along to restaurants and avoid public mishaps!
So, your baby builds independence – without too much collateral damage.
- Plastic, melamine, BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, cadmium, and mercury-free.
- Microwave and dishwasher-safe – a considerable benefit over bamboo. You can also sanitize silicone in boiling water for ultimate safety.
- A high-powered suction base clings to smooth surfaces without harming the finish.
- Three divided sections, great for picky eaters and to practice scooping with spoons.
- Soft texture, which causes no harm if your baby’s a biter. Yet, it’s rigid enough to prevent food flopping when you transport the plate.
- Raised rim to help prevent food spills.
- Straight-edge design allows kids to belly up to the plate, helping to catch food that misses their mouth. Don’t want the straight edge? Check out this rounded suction plate from Green Sprouts. The “big kid” design helps build feeding independence faster, yet you still get the safety net of a suction bottom.
- Available in six different shades. Give each kid their own color!
- 8.15″ x 7.25″, the best toddler plate size for a smooth transition to big-kids dinner plates.
All in all, these rate as one of the best suction plates for toddlers online right now. Check them out!
Are you looking for silicone non-toxic baby plates without suction bottoms?
Non-toxic Baby Feeding Utensils
When choosing the best toddler cutlery, focus on material safety and functionality.
With the above material information taken into account, two non-toxic flatware picks remain. Both, of course, safe and eco-friendly.
First, stainless steel toddler utensils. We’ve got two great options to show you, one for 12-18 months and another pick for 24 months and up.
The next pick – bamboo cutlery for kids. Just one, but the best non-toxic flatware set in that specific category.
First up, stainless steel silverware.
Best Toddler Silverware
Chewbeads’ unique design is easy to hold, soft, and crafted from 304-grade steel and silicone.
You’ll notice a slightly bent design. The curve makes this flatware easy for toddlers to hold without food spilling off.
The spoons also have a unique tapered edge. So, less-coordinated hands can shovel food easier.
This set includes two forks and two spoons.
- Plastic, BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, cadmium, melamine, and mercury-free.
- Soft silicone handles that grip the table and don’t slide off easy (preventing mess). Plus, the silicone provides an easy-hold grasp and protects your child’s teeth if they bite the handle.
- Easy-scooping spoon and child-safe forks with semi-rounded edges. Plenty sharp to pick up food, yet blunt enough to stop painful pokes.
- The forks measure 5.5″ x 1.” And the spoons measure 5.5″ x 1.25.”
- Dishwasher-safe for quick and easy care.
- Best toddler silverware for 12-18 months.
Not in stock? Check out this similar set from Melii!
It has the same silicone bead handle but with a cute caterpillar design.
Here’s the second stainless steel non-toxic cutlery set. You score forks, spoons, and child-safe knives – three of each (a total of nine).
This sturdy toddler cutlery resembles adult silverware to a T, except designed for small hands.
The only difference is size. These fit snugly in your toddler’s hands and have safe rounded edges to prevent sharp jabs.
Plus, your kid’s going to love the fun animal etchings on the handles!
- Free of lead, BPA, PVC, plastic, cadmium, melamine, and everything else yucky.
- Clean, non-allergenic 18/0 stainless steel (nickel-free). A perfect choice for allergy sufferers – and the chromium content still prevents rust.
- Semi-blunt fork points with a nice curve and just enough sharpness to stab food. Yet, not enough to hurt yourself.
- Kid-friendly knives that glide through food and butter bread without slicing skin.
- Dishwasher-safe and easy cleaning with a smooth, mirror-polished surface where bacteria can’t hide.
- Fun animal etchings to keep your kid engaged in mealtime.
- The fork sits at 5.7″ long. The spoon at 5.5″ long. And the knife at 6.8″ long. All measure roughly 1 ⅝” wide.
- The perfect size for 24 months – 12 years.
Not quite ready for knives yet? Exzact makes a 6-piece set consisting of three forks and three spoons.
Bamboo Non-Toxic Cutlery
Non-toxic baby feeding products crafted from bamboo make the perfect eco-friendly alternative to plastic utensils.
Bamboo has a softer feel than stainless. So if steel’s hardness seems a bit risky, choose bamboo.
This 6-pack of unpainted, non-toxic bamboo cutlery makes an excellent steel alternative. In it, you score three spoons and three forks.
This brand uses a single solid piece of lightweight yet strong bamboo for durability. Also, there’s a natural, food-safe oil finish to boost longevity.
But my favorite part? When you order, To-Go Ware and EarthHero use 100% carbon-neutral shipping means!
- Durable, unpainted bamboo – clear of melamine, plastic, BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, cadmium, and mercury.
- Softer than steel and doesn’t break like plastic – bamboo prevents scratches on your dishware.
- Child-safe forks with rounded points to help avoid painful pokes and scrapes.
- Dishwasher-safe to save cleanup time and doesn’t hold stains, flavors, or odors.
- Forks & spoons measure roughly 6″ in length and 1″ in width.
- To Go Ware is a certified B Corp with 100% net-zero carbon emissions. Plus, they donate 1% of your purchase to eco-friendly non-profits!
Not available on EarthHero? Get it here on Amazon.
Side note: As a caution, you should hand-wash your bamboo utensils to maximize their lifespan. Bamboo may crack under hot, moisture-rich conditions.
Also, one of the product images shows a knife and travel case. Those don’t come with this set – only forks and spoons.
Non-Toxic Lunch Box for Toddlers
Of course, this post focuses on plates, cups, and cutlery. But, you should consider a non-toxic lunch box for toddlers, too.
Food spends hours cooped up in lunch boxes almost daily through different conditions.
If there’s an optimal time for toxic chemicals to leach into foods – it’s right here.
Well, the non-toxic lunch box below will last for your kid’s entire childhood – and keep them safe the whole time.
With Lunchbots’ non-toxic lunch containers, you can finally ditch annoying plastic baggies.
Plus, the rugged steel frame prevents crushed lunches when your little barbarian acts… extra barbaric.
I especially love the three divided sections. You can fit a half sandwich on the larger side and dry snacks in both smaller compartments.
Lunchbots crafts their containers from high-quality 304-grade steel. So, designed for a lifetime of daily use and, of course, no toxins.
- Plastic, BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, cadmium, melamine, and mercury-free.
- Full stainless steel – built to last and shields snacks while eliminating your need for plastic.
- Three divided sections to separate various foods (great for “my food can’t touch” phase).
- Dishwasher-safe for low-maintenance care – the steel comes out shining like new every time.
- Designed for small hands. Measures 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″ – compact enough to slip into any bag and bring anywhere.
Lunchbots carries several options; some with extra compartments, others with none. Plus, they offer colored lids to mix and match!
Keep in mind; this lunch box won’t prevent leaks. Use it for non-messy finger snacks on the go (cheese cubes, veggies, crackers, etc.).
You made it – kudos! We covered a lot of material in this kids’ non-toxic dinnerware guide. So let’s do a quick recap.
First, you saw the kids’ dinnerware materials to avoid – and the health risks of each.
Then, we explored each kid-safe dinnerware material and how it can benefit your family.
And finally, you saw the best non-toxic plates for toddlers – non-toxic baby feeding utensils – non-plastic kids’ cups – and the safest non-toxic lunch box.
We researched and vetted each dinnerware pick with a fine-tooth comb. So, you can move forward with total confidence.
So, now it’s your time to shine. Which non-toxic dinnerware choice will you pick first?
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
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