Flatware. Great for delivering a home-cooked meal and also defending yourself. While the cavemen kicked off flatware innovations with versions made of bone, stone, and wood, these eating utensils became more widespread during the Middle Ages.
The knife was the first piece of flatware to be commonly used and served a dual purpose: as a weapon and for cutting food! But that’s not the kind of “dining safety” we’ll be talking about today.
Modern eatware, including eco-friendly kitchen products, is generally made of stainless steel. Of course, we also have plastic, wood, bamboo, pewter, and copper versions as well. We also have “plated” versions that cover a base metal. Special occasions may see flatware plated in silver, pewter, copper, nickel, and even gold.
This begs the question – are we eating safely? Which one of these is the safest silverware option?
A Quick Look At The Best Non-Toxic Flatware
- Best Overall Non-Toxic Flatware Set: Liberty Tabletop | Skip to review
- Best Non-Toxic Flatware for Special Occasions: Fable | Skip to review
- Best Non-Toxic Flatware for Children: Avanchy | Skip to review
- Best Plant-Based Flatware: Earth Hero | Skip to review
- Best Compostable Flatware: Earth Hero | Skip to review
- Best Bamboo Flatware: Eco Roots | Skip to review
- Best Stainless Steel Flatware: Liberty Tabletop | Skip to review
- Best Non-Toxic Wood Flatware: Rainforest Bowls | Skip to review
- Best Non-Toxic Knife Set: Caraway | Skip to review
- Best Non-Toxic Mixed Material Flatware: Etu Home | Skip to review
How Can Flatware Be Toxic?
Metal Plated Flatware
Not all flatware is toxic. The problem generally lies in versions that are “plated” in heavy metals.
The plating of dining utensils started in the mid-19th century with the advent of electroplating technology. This new technique allowed for a layer of silver to be melded onto a base material, creating what we now know as plated flatware.
Heavy metals are often associated with toxicity due to their potentially harmful effects on human health when ingested in large amounts. While silver itself is not classified as a “heavy metal” and is generally not toxic to humans in small amounts, silver toxicity can become a concern if ingested in large amounts.
It’s important to note that the heavy metals in flatware production are highly regulated to prevent health risks. Most modern flatware is made from stainless steel or sterling silver, both of which are considered safe materials for food contact.
Plastic flatware is commonly used in households with children due to its lightweight and unbreakable nature – helpful in avoiding injury when they’re still working out their use!
However, certain types of plastic utensils can also contain harmful chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which have been linked to a variety of health problems, such as hormone disruption and disruption of normal development in children.
What is the Most Non-Toxic Flatware
Not all flatware is created equal! Here are three materials that rank high in health for your utensil drawer.
Bamboo flatware is generally considered a non-toxic and safe alternative to plastic and plated utensils. Bamboo is a natural material that does not contain harmful substances like BPA or phthalates, which are often found in plastic. Bamboo is also water, heat, and bacteria resistant.
Wooden eating utensils, including those made from hardwoods like beechwood, teak, or maple, are generally considered non-toxic and safe. It’s important to ensure that the wooden utensils you choose are labeled “food-safe.” This is because some wood materials can crack, leading to contamination.
Look for wooden utensils that have been treated with natural oils or waxes to make them more durable and water-resistant!
Generally speaking, the safest flatware you can use is stainless steel. If you want to go one step safer, there are particular types with increasing purity that are considered the best option to avoid toxicity in your utensils drawer. More on that below.
How Do We Choose These Non-Toxic Flatware and Silverware?
We chose these flatware sets for their materials, durability, and company ethos. Bonus points were given for low-impact shipping and aesthetics – after all, we’ll be using these forks, spoons, and knives for a long time!
The flatware options featured in our list are crafted from durable, non-toxic materials and meticulously designed to resist corrosion over time. We also pay close attention to each company’s sustainability practices, scrutinizing their material sourcing methods, the craftsmanship of the flatware, and packaging processes to ensure minimal environmental footprint.
Full List of Non-Toxic Flatware Sets?
- Materials: Bamboo and Stainless Steel
- Featured Item: Found Silver Plate Flatware
- Price Point: $$$
Looking for a modern twist on stainless steel flatware? etúHOME’s Bamboo Flatware Set perfectly blends a natural aesthetic with the utility and durability of stainless steel.
The set includes five pieces (soup spoon, teaspoon, dinner fork, salad fork, and dinner knife) with genuine bamboo handles and stainless steel surfaces. The two materials are widely known for their safety when used in food-related contexts.
Beyond style, safety, and practicality, the European-inspired company keeps sustainability at the forefront of everything they do. This means artisanal craftsmanship that forgoes a heavy carbon footprint and a deep consideration for using renewable resources in their product’s creation.
- Materials: Ebony Wood
- Featured Item: Ebony Wood Utensils
- Price Point: $$
Rainforest Bowls specializes in producing sustainable kitchenware such as coconut plates, bamboo straws, and wooden utensils. They are committed to promoting eco-friendly lifestyles, supporting sustainable farming, and transforming the waste from the latter into useful tools.
Their wooden utensils, made from coconut and ebony, are crafted from scrap wood rather than using virgin wood, making for a circular production process that not only yields toxin-free flatware but also does good for the environment. The Ebony Wood Utensils Set comes in a four or eight-pack and is sent in plastic-free packaging.
As part of this commitment, Rainforest Bowls is a member of 1% For the Planet, and they plant a tree in Africa or Vietnam for every plate sold through partnerships with Trees for the Future and OneTreePlanted.
- Materials: Bamboo and Silicone
- Featured Item: Bamboo Baby Forks
- Price Point: $
Babies have to eat too! Avanchy’s Bamboo Baby Forks are part of a line of excellent baby-approved utensils and eatware. They offer a great non-toxic option for little ones.
They are crafted from organic, sustainable, and 100% biodegradable bamboo, making them not only healthy for little humans but also an eco-friendly choice. 100% food-grade silicone tips are gentle on the baby’s gums and tailored for small hands and mouths.
Is silicone safe? The materials used in these forks are antimicrobial and antibacterial and free from plastic, BPA, PVC, lead, and phthalates, making them a great alternative to conventional plastic options.
- Materials: Bamboo
- Featured Item: Reusable Bamboo Cutlery
- Price Point: $
Eco Roots is an Aspen, Colorado-based business that offers high-quality, non-toxic, and zero-waste products. Their Reusable Bamboo Cutlery comes in a set of five, and its lightweight nature makes it perfect for camping, during lunch breaks, or road trips!
We love that they are easy to clean and come with a convenient carrying case for on-the-go use.
- Materials: Upcycled Bamboo and Sugarcane Starch
- Featured Item: Knork Flatware
- Price Point: $
Some of the best ideas start around a meal! Knork Flatware was born from a conversation at a pizzeria and ended as a fully compostable ECO line of spoons, forks, and knives that are durable enough to withstand 400 dish washes.
One of their offerings, the Plant-Based Fork + Spoon Set, is one such colorful and non toxic alternative to traditional plastic utensils. The set, which includes three forks and three spoons in assorted colors, is made from upcycled bamboo fibers and a plant-based ‘plastic’ derived from sugar cane starch (PLA) – evading the potential toxic leaching that comes with plastic utensils.
- Materials: 18/10 Stainless Steel
- Featured Item: Matte Black Flatware Set
- Price Point: $$$$
For elegant non-toxic flatware, look no further than Fable’s matte black stainless steel set. This 20-piece set, designed in Vancouver and crafted in Porto Portugal, includes dinner forks, salad forks, large spoons, small spoons, and knives, enough for four place settings.
Built to last, these utensils have extra thickness and are made from 18/10 stainless steel. We love this set for a fancy occasion. Although it is designed from a fine dining perspective, this set is made to last through years of dishwashing cycles.
- Materials: 18/10 Stainless Steel
- Featured Item: Annapolis Set
- Price Point: $$$
Liberty Tabletop’s Annapolis flatware set is the best choice if you are looking for something with elegant simplicity in Euro sizing that is made in the United States.
This set comes in varying types including a five-piece service set (65 pieces) or one that also includes a three-piece hostess set (68 pieces). The top-of-the-line 18/10 stainless steel means a non-toxic eating experience and a lifetime of use.
- Materials: FSC Certified Birch Wood, German Stainless Steel
- Featured Item: Prep Set
- Price Point: $$$
We’ve added the Prep Set from Caraway Home as an excellent non-toxic knife set option. Knives are also prone to toxic coatings (chromium and vanadium) and handles made of plastics that can leach into the food being prepped.
This handy prep set includes four different sized knives with FSC certified birch wood handles (ensuring they come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits), kitchen shears, five serving tools, and a wooden base to hold it all. The knives boast premium German steel blades, known for their durability and sharpness.
Comparing Non-Toxic Flatware Sets
|Bamboo and Stainless Steel
|Found Silver Plate Flatware
|Ebony Wood Utensils
|Bamboo and Silicone
|Bamboo Baby Forks
|Reusable Bamboo Cutlery
|Upcycled Bamboo and Sugarcane Starch
|18/10 Stainless Steel
|Matte Black Flatware Set
|18/10 Stainless Steel
|FSC Certified Birch Wood, German Stainless Steel
Materials to Avoid on Flatware & Silverware
When choosing non-toxic options for flatware and silverware, it’s important to be aware of certain potentially harmful materials. These are some of the materials to avoid.
While plastic utensils may be convenient and inexpensive, they often contain chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol A) and phthalates, which are known to have harmful health effects. They also aren’t as durable and can go on to contribute to landfill waste if they are cycled through regularly.
We love aluminum for its infinite recyclability, but the metal has the potential to leach into food, especially when it comes to serving acidic foods.
Metal Plate Flatware
Gold, nickel, and silver plated flatware, while fun to display on a dressed-up table, can pose potential health risks. Most silver-plated flatware is made from nickel silver, and as the silver plating wears away, the base metal becomes exposed. According to the FDA, “Imported and domestic silver-plated hollowware has been found to contain significant quantities of leachable lead. The metal is extractable by acid foods and could cause chronic heavy metal poisoning under continued food use.”
The bottom line is that unplated stainless steel, wood, bamboo, and plant-based options are your best bet for avoiding toxicity in your dinnerware.
Is Stainless Steel Flatware Non-Toxic?
Stainless steel flatware is the go-to option for non-toxic and safe use. It is durable, resistant to rust and corrosion, and won’t leach any of those pesky toxins into your food. It is important to note that there are different grades of stainless steel, and various types have different qualities. Here is the rundown.
- 18/10 Stainless Steel: Made of 10% nickel and 18% chromium. This is considered the highest quality of stainless steel and the safest flatware.
- 18/0 Stainless Steel: Made of 0% nickel and 18% chromium. This is the best option if you are sensitive to nickel.
- 18/8 Stainless Steel: Made of 8% nickel and 18% chromium, This is considered the lower grade of stainless steel. This type is still non-toxic, but less durable and more susceptible to corrosion.
Switching to Non-Toxic Flatware
Swapping out potentially toxic eatware is an investment – in your health as well as your pocket. Investing in safe flatware means investing in more naturally durable materials like 18/10 stainless steel that will outlast many of the cheaper less safe alternatives.
Not sure you want to commit to one look for life? Choose a set for daily use and another for special occasions. Keep it circular and pass them to a graduating college student and invest in a new set when you’re ready to switch it up! Start in your silverware drawer for a non-toxic home!