We all want the best for our children, and by teaching them from a young age about sustainability and caring for our planet, it helps to prepare the next generation. While you may think about teaching children the importance of recycling, or choosing the fabrics we clothe them in carefully, have you considered how eco-friendly the plates they’re eating off of are?
The good news is that many children’s brands are dedicated to keeping products as planet friendly as possible, and that goes for tableware too.
But what materials should we be looking out for? Always aim for as natural as possible, bamboo is organic, recyclable, biodegradable, grown and harvested without the use of pesticides so gets a big tick from us.
You’ll often find melamine in tableware products too. It’s an organic-based, nitrogen-rich compound, which is durable, fire and heat resistant and hugely robust, making it outlast plastic options.
The other player is silicone which isn’t necessarily known for its eco credentials, however, when it comes to the environment, silicone is highly durable and more ocean friendly than plastic. It is made from silica found in sand, and is much longer lasting than plastic.
Beyond scrutinizing the materials used, we – along with the help of our two-year-old and four-year-old reviewers – tested a range of kids’ plate sets, with a keen eye on practicality such as sections for young eaters, or giving extra points for clever hacks like a suction mechanism to keep the plate in place, and whether it can be bunged in the dishwasher.
We also weighed up the price points as eco doesn’t have to cost the earth, and also considered if the plate sets are appealing to the little diners eating off them.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Lassig creates charming baby and toddler products which are manufactured exclusively from harmless, pollutant-tested, innovative and high-quality materials much like this sweet garden-inspired plate. Predominantly made from renewable raw materials plus a small dose of melamine resin, this plate inspires a love for the outdoors with its sweet “Hey ho let’s grow” tagline, and sweet gardening illustrations. Our four-year-old tester loved pointing out the different drawings, and the lipped design meant it was easy to scoop food off without making a mess, and we’re chuffed that it’s dishwasher safe.
Ferm Living safari bamboo dinner set
Step into the wild with this safari-inspired dinner set from Danish design brand Ferm Living. Made from a sustainable blend of 45 per cent bamboo, 30 per cent corn powder and 25 per cent melamine, this creates a biodegradable material free of BPA, PCP and phthalates, which you can also put in the dishwasher. Comprising of one plate and matching cup, it’s fun without being gimmicky, our favourite is the giraffe print but there are tiger and zebras too.
Done by Deer stick and stay Elphee silicone plate
Who wouldn’t want this adorable elephant-shaped plate to join them at dinnertime? But it’s not just good on the eye, it’s hugely practical for little eaters. The stick and stay plate does just that by pressing the plate down on a smooth table, the natural suction keeps it in place, which is perfect when young diners practise their eating skills. You can release the plate by using the easy-release flap hidden behind Elphee’s ear. The rounded edges make it easier to scoop food, and we love the separate compartment neatly designed into the elephant’s ear. Made from 100 per cent silicone means it’s dishwasher, microwave, oven and freezer safe!
Sass & Belle earth rainbow tableware set
Add a touch of magic to mealtimes. Designed in bright primary colours this looks lovely placed atop a table. The set includes a plate, bowl, cup and spoon and fork, all made from a blend of bamboo fibre, corn fibre, wood fibre and melamine. For £15 this is a purse-friendly option which is durable, easy on the eyes with child appeal. Unfortunately, it’s not safe to use in the dishwasher and does need to be left to air dry before storing away which isn’t quite so convenient.
Rex London Teddy The Tiger bamboo tableware set f 5
As part of the brand’s colourful creatures range, little diners can say hello to Teddy The Tiger and his wonderful five-piece tableware set. Made from biodegradable bamboo fibre and a smattering of melamine this makes a fabulous eco-friendly gift. With a plate, bowl, cup and matching cutlery, all meals of the day are sorted. Our tiger-loving four year old loved eating and drinking from a matching set. At £15.95 you get a lot of product for your money, plus parents will be happy to hear all pieces can be popped on the top wrack of a dishwasher.
Zuperzozial small plates set of 6
Designed with the future in mind, Zuperzozial plates are made from biodegradable bamboo and corn, plus a sprinkling of melamine resin to reinforce the product, the outcome is durable tableware. Nice and light, and coming as a set of six makes them perfect for picnics, and the colours compliment each other so well so look great when all laid out. Once you’re done you can pop them in the dishwasher too.
Snail bamboo tableware suction and section plate
If you’re starting on your weaning journey, a suction plate will soon become your best friend. A brand dedicated to making sustainable stylish is Eco Rascals, specialising in tableware for kids. All products are made using bamboo and we are huge fans of its suction and section plate that grips firmly to a table or highchair. Designed with two compartments in a sweet snail shape, a plate this size is more suited to babies and toddlers, but there are larger sizes available. Our two-year-old tester had no issues tucking into her meal, and it was great to separate a dip from the main meal. The detachable silicone suction bases are made from FDA approved 100 per cent silicone, free of plastic, BPA, PVC, lead and phthalates. Due to the bamboo, this product can’t get too hot or cold, which means you will need to clean with warm soapy water.
Sass & Belle personalised tiger bamboo plate
Our four-year-old tester loved eating up her lunch to reveal her name hiding underneath. Sass & Belle has joined forces with personalisation brand My 1st Years to offer a personalised mealtime with this tiger bamboo plate. Choose up to eight characters and they can laser engrave your plate for free. Made from 100 per cent bamboo it’s a planet-friendly option, but be warned you’ll have to wash this up by hand.
Multicolour Simply Eco Small Plates
If you’re heading out for a picnic, or having a party where children are involved, you may not want to use your finest crockery. Partyware brand Meri Meri has come up with a sustainable solution with these eco party plates. In wonderful pastel multicolours, the eight party plates are in a stylish moulded scallop shape and have been crafted from wood fibre, bamboo and sugarcane, and are dyed with water-based inks. So, while they may be disposable, they’re 100 per cent natural and are certainly sturdy enough to be used again if serving dry food.
OYOY Bamboo Tableware Set
Made from 35 per cent bamboo, 30 per cent corn powder, 5 per cent wood and 30 per cent melamine, this tableware set will see your little one through plenty of mealtimes thanks to its durability. Dishwasher safe, the set comprises of a plate, bowl and cup all perfectly sized for mini diners. But our favourite bit has to be the adorably illustrated safari characters, our four-year-old tester found the elephant wearing a hat highly amusing. The set comes in a nicely presented box making it a lovely sustainable gift.
The verdic: Kids’ eco-friendly plates
Lassig’s garden-inspired plate keeps its green by using natural materials but also keeps it convenient with the option of bunging it in the dishwasher after use, which is a big tick for parents. Our little reviewers loved the illustrations and at less than £7 it’s purse-friendly too. For those battling baby-led weaning, Eco Rascal’s Bamboo Tableware Suction and Section Plate is a super smart sustainable choice.
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