Stainless Steel Dishes: The Best Plastic-Free Option for Children
How we got our first stainless steel dishes is an interesting story. When we started Life Without Plastic in 2006, our son was only 3 years old. I had heard about the dangers of plastics from a magazine called Mothering created by the wonderful Peggy O’Mara who was my hero at the time and still is today.
I was shocked at the information I was reading about plastics. I was alarmed that plastics contained so many chemicals that were not chemically bound to the plastic molecule and actually leached easily into our foods and bodies. I was especially worried about hormone-disrupting chemicals that my growing child was absorbing through the plastic dishes and cups I was serving his food into.
Our first stainless steel dish set
It was therefore extremely important that when we would launch LifeWithoutPlastic.com that it would offer a children’s dish set that would not be made of plastic. The dish set needed to be unbreakable, which ruled out ceramic and glass, and it needed to be dishwasher-safe which ruled out anything made with wood or other easily degradable materials. We came up with a stainless steel dish set.
I went to a trade show in Asia and found a manufacturer of high quality stainless steel who could supply all the elements of the set. We packed the dish set in a green and beige box with some tissue paper inside. It looked like a gift and it was very precious. We still sell the various pieces of this set today, but as separate items.
The dish set we offer now has a double wall mug and bowl which do not transfer heat or cold as easily as their single wall equivalents.
What I discovered over time which I had not realized at the time was that stainless steel is actually the best material for a children’s dish set for the important reason that it can actually be sterilized through high heat washing in a dishwasher. This is important especially at a child care center where dishes are shared among all children. I noticed that my sister who is a dentist only uses instruments made of stainless steel because this is the only material that won’t rust and that can be sterilized thoroughly between patients. She would absolutely not use plastic instruments.
Most child care centers offer plastic dishes sanitized with bleach
When searching on the Internet, I found this document from the state of Wisconsin which contains guidelines about how to sanitize dishes. A sanitizing solution or bleach is recommended for sanitation. One would want to ensure that the sanitation solution does not contain harsh chemicals and that the dishes get rinsed thoroughly… a drop of bleach in a glass of water can’t be good for you, let alone for a small child.
If you are not sure if the sanitizing solution your child care center is using is good for your child, you might want to start a conversation and ask if there is a possibility they could invest in a dishwasher and good quality stainless steel dishes. We’ll be happy to assist you and offer your child care center good pricing on large quantities.
10 years later
So here we are, 10 years later. Our son is now 13 years old and he still uses the stainless steel dishes we got for him as a child. He likes to use the plate to warm up some food in the toaster oven like a grilled cheese or pizza leftovers. I still use the bowl to warm up my soup on the stove top and of course the tumblers still get used everyday. Jay finds the plate handy for taking a sandwich on the go in the car. This is not a melamine dish set with Disney patterns that would have gone to the landfill long ago. Although high quality stainless steel dishes may be more expensive at the time of purchase, the value you get out of them is tremendous and can last generations.
Yes, this is a dish set that will last a lifetime and beyond.
Chantal Plamondon, Co-Owner
Life Without Plastic