Exploring the Sustainability of Ceramics Versus Disposable Alternatives

Exploring the Sustainability of Ceramics Versus Disposable Alternatives - bzyoo

Almost everything seems to be disposable these days. We live in a time where few material items are meant to be kept and reused. From cheap shoes and poorly made clothing to disposable cameras and cell phones, countless items make their way into the world’s landfills, oceans, and freshwater supplies. 

In a sense, even many major home appliances are designed to be used only for a short time before needing to be replaced thanks to the ever-growing policy of planned obsolescence currently sweeping the globe. Of course, disposable dinnerware also enters the mix. That, alone, is responsible for millions of metric tons of waste that ultimately pollute our planet. 

Ceramics: A More Sustainable Choice

There’s little denying that disposable cups, bowls, plates, and utensils are convenient. You use them once and toss them in the trash. They can cut cleanup time and effort in half. Some might even argue that they reduce water usage because they leave you with fewer dishes to wash after meals. Still, disposable tableware is taking a major toll on our world. 

Pollution is a major concern these days. Because of that, many people are trending away from convenience in favor of less wasteful alternatives. Ceramic dinnerware certainly falls into that category. It’s a sustainable choice that can reduce people’s footprints and have a lasting positive impact on our planet. It’s beautiful to look at and incredibly versatile, and its environmental benefits only add to its allure. 

Why Are Ceramic Dishes a Better Choice for the Environment?

Ceramic dishes are a better choice for the environment than styrofoam, paper, and disposable plastics for several reasons. Their durability and longevity are among the most significant. Whereas disposables are specifically designed to be used and discarded, ceramics can last for decades or possibly centuries. That’s only the beginning.

Made from Natural, Renewable Materials

Ceramics are also natural. They’re made from clay and other organic materials that are readily available across the globe. People were making ceramic pottery and tableware long before plastics and styrofoam were invented. These materials will be available in abundant supply as long as Earth holds out. 

Plastics and styrofoam, on the other hand, are primarily made from petroleum products. Some reports indicate that our supply of petroleum will only hold out for another 25 years or so at our current consumption rates. With that being the case, those materials aren’t exactly sustainable. 

An estimated 20 million trees are cut down each year to make paper cups alone. It would be impossible to plant enough new trees to make up for those that are destroyed to make paper products. Many might argue that plastics and paper are recyclable, but that’s really a moot point since less than 10 percent of them actually make it to recycling centers. 

Minimal Processing

Additionally, ceramic requires minimal processing when compared to plastics and styrofoam. That means it has a far smaller environmental impact. Creating disposable dishes takes massive volumes of synthetic raw materials, and processing them requires excessive amounts of energy. Plastic production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution. 

Ceramic dinnerware is traditionally fired in kilns. It requires less energy for production and generates fewer emissions than disposables. Quite a few ceramics producers are taking measures to reduce their already minimal energy usage even further. Some have found ways to harness the excess thermal energy their kilns create and use it in other ways as well.


Since ceramics are durable, long-lasting, beautiful, and meant to be used for the long term, they don’t often get thrown away. If they do happen to make it landfills, they’re harmless. Both plastics and styrofoam can take up to 500 years to decompose. Being made of natural materials, ceramics break down and become part of the Earth to begin their life cycle all over again. It’s a matter of dust to dust. 

Embracing Sustainability With Ceramics

Disposable plates, cups, and other tableware offer convenience. They’re also cheap. What’s the price we ultimately pay for those perceived perks, though? They’re partially responsible for destroying our planet and our future. 

Ceramic dinnerware is a natural, sustainable alternative. It’s made from organic, renewable materials, and creating it leaves behind an incredibly small footprint when compared to other options. It’s easy to take care of and durable enough to withstand constant use. It can last a lifetime with proper care. You can pass ceramics down from one generation to the next along with a sense of responsibility for preserving our world and the pride that comes from embracing sustainability.