Asked on Feb 15, 2017

Can you reuse disposable cutlery?

Hillela G.
by Hillela G.
Is it a bad idea to reuse disposable flatware? icon I always feel bad throwing it out after just one use! But is it a bad idea to reuse them more than once? I wouldn’t want to cause any harm icon
  26 answers
  • Mary Gendron Mary Gendron on Feb 15, 2017

    If your using them for yourself, washing and reusing the plastic is not a problem. However, should you decide to reuse it for say, a family gathering, some people may find it objectionable. The idea is that they are disposable. It doesn't bother some people, but I personally would be reluctant to eat food reusing plastic that's already been used by others, even if they've been washed.

  • Dana Berg Dana Berg on Feb 15, 2017

    My husband also thinks one use is a waste. If they are Heavy Duty style only they do wash in dishwasher without melting. But he has put cheaper ones through dishwasher and they melted some from the hot water and drying element.

  • Elaine Elaine on Feb 15, 2017

    I only bought plastic cutlery the once and washed it in VERY hot sudsy water for just my immediate family. I felt too guilty (re ecology, etc.) when disposing of it in our recycling that I never, ever bought it again. Our planet will eventually say "thanks" if we all do our part!

    • See 2 previous
    • I hear you. That is why in so many places you must bring your own bags or pay for them. I have lots of the shopping bags in each car so no matter where we go, we have no excuse. What gets me is some of the packaging on products. I get that making food products tamper proof, but really? Some items have so much stuff they use to keep products safe in the shipping process. Luckily we have a great recycle system in place where I live. My parents were depression children. You fixed things and not much was ever thrown away. Post a pic of your quilts! I would love to see them!

  • Chrys Marco Chrys Marco on Feb 15, 2017

    Yes .. they can be reused without guilt. A little bleach kills germs wonderfully. Simply put about 2 ounces in 1/2 dishpan of warm soapy water. Let set only about 5 min, then wash and rinse. If you still feel guilty after washing them, then use a clean washcloth, first wet it then wring out tight. Spray the damp cloth with alcohol and go over each piece to insure a complete sanitizing. Alcohol is

    another wonderful product. Use it to spray and wipe out dog dishes. It's the only thing that can remove their saliva from any surface.

  • Chrys Marco Chrys Marco on Feb 15, 2017

    Oh, another thing . . . plastic is a very porous material. Never put it in a dishwasher. The plastic ware will always look clean, but soap and hot water alone will not kill off the bacteria left behind in the microscopic holes as does bleach, or especially alcohol. If anyone asks . . . just tell them. They would

    appreciate your consideration. I have found that many people would just as soon save, rather than toss their flatware.

    • Elle Shepard Elle Shepard on Feb 18, 2017

      That's weird, I put our in the dishwasher after every Post luck dinner (Used to be 3 a month - now only one) and it comes out looking almost like new... and very, very, clean - I am careful to put it in a space in the utensil baskets that are not over direct heat. PS - I do have a better than average dishwasher... but it is not so posh it can't do plastics etc.

  • Dee Dee on Feb 15, 2017

    I've been using the same set of heavy duty plastic for years, I only use it about three times a year but I put it in the dishwasher. Everyone has lived so far. Lol

  • Over the years I have collected several sets of flatware. For large backyard parties I purchased a box of premium plastic ware from Costco. I collect, wash and reuse for myself and on day trips or outings with the dogs. For smaller gatherings, I use the real thing from two sets that have missing pieces. I also have some of the recycled plastic stuff in each car and at work.

  • Far20678461 Far20678461 on Feb 16, 2017

    Considering that nobody washes them before using them the first time, washing and reusing them seems the better part of wisdom right? When you consider what plastic is made of, it's a wonder we don't wash them first!

    • See 1 previous
    • DORLIS DORLIS on Feb 16, 2017

      You can put mothballs in the garage and car . the smell confuses them.

  • Carol Divis Carol Divis on Feb 16, 2017

    I always throw mine away after one use. That's the reason I use plastic in the first place. If I'm going to wash it , I use the real stuff.

  • Cathy Wolf Cathy Wolf on Feb 16, 2017

    The red solo cups too!!! I wash it all. I am a fanatic about the environment.

    • When there is a BIG party , I toss all the plastic items into my recycle bin. At least where I live, they are very good about this and when I do toss, at least I do not have to feel guilty. My area takes almost everything. I specifically purchased extra covered trash bins and marked them "RECYCLE" and placed in the yard, at least my guests are environmentally responsible. Generally I have a full recycle bin and a tiny bag of trash every week. If I can find good quality paper products, I try to buy those too for certain occasions.

  • Celia Stabler Vencil Celia Stabler Vencil on Feb 16, 2017

    If you check the recycle numbers you will find that they have changed. It used to be that the heavy duty plastic ones had a 5 inside the recycle triangle. Those could be re-used up to 5 times. The ones I have seen lately are all 1, they should only be used once and then thrown away.

  • Tammy Hawkins Tammy Hawkins on Feb 17, 2017

    I only have a few sets of 'proper' cutlery. I only use (and reuse) plastic. A lot these days are very strong. You can reuse the forks ( when you used them accidentally in a hot pan or pot and you melted the tips) as new plant/flower markers in your garden. Just slip the tag that came with the plant/flower between the tines, or if you planted seeds you can use all even the spoons and knives by slipping the seed package over them!

  • Norma Norma on Feb 18, 2017

    I wash them and then use them to scoop out wet cat food. I then throw them away. They still eventually end up in the trash, only not as quickly. I love my cat, but I'm not using the family flatware for his food, lol.

  • Carol Marx-Ruth Carol Marx-Ruth on Feb 18, 2017

    We should eliminate plastic use.

  • Joanie Joanie on Feb 18, 2017

    When I have a special occasion. Picnic, shower for my, a house party, etc. I like to use them because, I have had drunks throw away my good silverware., it's Good to me anyway. So I use plastic ware for parties and in the garbage they go!!!! When I have Holiday dinners with my family, I use my silverware and wash everything. They know what I use. For their drinks I use Red Solo cups and I do re- use them......I guess they remind me of Toby Keith...;))) I do like Plastic for Pool parties.......NO GLASS on the concrete around my pool, that is a NO NO!!

    • JustJane JustJane on Feb 20, 2017

      Unbreakable "glassware" is available (in all styles) that can be put in th dishwasher. Agree that no glass should be used around a pool!

  • Daryvonne Daryvonne on Feb 19, 2017

    The're called disposable for a reason. Throw them away. If you have to wash them, why not just use regular metal utencils.

  • Tdoo Tdoo on Feb 19, 2017

    Check the numbers on them.If they are okay for reuse, reuse away.

  • Bobbie B Bobbie B on Feb 19, 2017

    I reuse mine all the time. I have a few spoons that my grandfather used for his homemade chili when we came to visit when I was a little girl

  • JustJane JustJane on Feb 20, 2017

    Recycle as suggested in above posts (IE: plant sign stakes), but do not reuse for eating!!!! Yeah, I know, I'm still "alive," too, but I can't believe it's a healthy thing to do  If you need a lot of "silverware" for parties, you can usually find it cheap in the thrift stores, garage sales, etc. If that kind of "used" is unappealing to you, discount places like Burlington have them on clearance every so often as well -- they don't have to match, do they? Either of these are actually more cost effective and definitely more Eco-friendly. They only take up a little more room than the plastic and can definitely be put in the dishwasher!

    • John Eight Thirty-Two John Eight Thirty-Two on Oct 08, 2021

      You say you "can't believe it's a healthy thing to do", but that isn't the same as saying you think it's bad for you (and nobody was claiming it's therapeutic).

      Most people have answered the question with a "yes", and the people who said "no" gave either no reason or one that boils down to "because it disgusts me for reasons I can't articulate".

  • Joanie Joanie on Feb 20, 2017

    What can I say? I think it is up to the individual.........If you wanna re- wash and re -use.......WHY NOT? I don't think it will kill anyone.......I have done it numerous times......we are ALL still livin'.......It is ALL about how you want to decorate for that day. Sundays at my house are all about Spaghetti and Meatballs, a Sunday Supper on whatever I choose. Does it really matter, as long as you're ALL together!! Just Mangia!!! Eat. drink and be happy!! Get the plastic out for the kids?????????

  • Willard Dunn Willard Dunn on Feb 21, 2017

    I reuse plastic eating utensils.....I wash them in the dishwasher..for coffee and tea ....instead of metal spoons that you would have not too many of. ....

  • Becky P Becky P on Feb 21, 2017

    We even used plastic utensils for Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone knew not to throw them away because I would dig them out of the trash and wash them.

  • Superbee Superbee on Feb 22, 2017

    I don't care if it's safe or not. . I can't stand the sound of stainless steel flatware against ceramic plates and bowls. Especially dolts who scrape away like it's their last meal.

  • Ginny Ginny on Feb 24, 2017

    I reuse disposable cutlery all the time, washing by hand. Soak cutlery in a large spaghetti pot in liquid soap. Let it stand 30-60 minutes. Swish and rinse by hand; put in the dish drainer or lay on a kitchen towel to dry. Dishwasher might be too hot. Why waste money and add more 'junk' to the environment?

  • K. K. on Feb 26, 2017

    I always use the same plastic wear until it becomes damaged in the dishwasher. What is the difference between plastic ware that is "dishwasher safe" (according to the MFG.) and plastic utensils that are "throwaway"? Plastic is plastic no matter what the recycle codes is. If it comes out of the dishwasher deformed get rid of that particular utensil and the next one may or not come out the same way.

    It doesn't cost any more to run a dishwasher that has plastic utensils in a load then without.

  • John Eight Thirty-Two John Eight Thirty-Two on Oct 08, 2021

    What does it mean to call something "disposable"? What's to stop me from buying Spode china and Lenox silverware, using it once, and throwing it in the trash? (It's my property!) Isn't everything disposable?