How To Tell If Your Disposable Plates Are Microwave-Safe

How To Tell If Your Disposable Plates Are Microwave-Safe

Disposable plates are a convenient option when it comes to mealtime because they are lightweight and easy to clean up. That’s why we exclusively sell disposable dinnerware here at Select Settings! But how do you know if a disposable plate is safe for your microwave? If a product is not labeled as microwave-safe, it could melt, warp, or even leach chemicals into your food. Fortunately, it's fairly simple to check whether or not a plate is microwave-safe. Here’s how you can tell.

Let’s Start With Plastic Plates

Some plastic plates are only meant for cold foods and should never be microwaved at high temperatures because they could melt or warp under extreme heat conditions. To check if a plastic plate can be used in the microwave, look for a label on the bottom that either says “microwave-safe” or has three wavy lines similar to the image below.


Additionally, if you see a #5 on the bottom of your plastic plate, that means your plate is made of polypropylene, which is also safe for use in the microwave. If you don’t see any of the labels or symbols mentioned above, then it’s probably best to avoid putting that particular plate in the microwave. To be sure that you're using your plastic plates safely, always check labels and instructions before placing any item in your microwave oven.

What About Compostable Plates?

You might be surprised to learn that some types of compostable plates are microwave-safe as well! The easiest way to determine whether a compostable plate is microwaveable is by looking at its packaging. Most compostable plates will be labeled with instructions on whether they can be microwaved or not. If you cannot find any information on the packaging, you should reach out to the manufacturer directly to confirm that the product is indeed safe for microwaving.

Another factor to consider is the material your plate is made from. Compostable plates can be made from paper, cornstarch-based plastic, sugarcane fiber, and bamboo fiber, each of which has its own unique properties and features. Generally speaking, paper and cornstarch-based plastic compostables do not do well in high temperatures, so it’s best to avoid microwaving them altogether. On the other hand, sugarcane fiber and bamboo fiber products tend to tolerate heat better than paper or plastic alternatives and may be safe for use in the microwave. For example, at Select Settings, all of our compostable plates and bowls are made from bagasse, which is a heat-resistant, BPA-free, natural fiber material that won’t warp or get soggy in the microwave. As a result, you can be confident that all of our compostable plates and bowls are microwave-safe. But in general, it’s always best practice to double-check with the manufacturer before placing
plates in the microwave.

There are Exceptions to Every Rule

Keep an eye out for any additional features your disposable plates may have that could affect their ability to withstand heat safely. For example, some compostables feature decorative designs like embossed patterns or glossy finishes which may not hold up under high temperatures, so you should take extra care when using these types of products in a microwave. Additionally, it's important to note that any plates or bowls with metallic lining, like aluminum foil, are not microwavable due to potential sparking and fire hazards – so steer clear from those! Furthermore, some plastics contain toxins such as Bisphenol A (BPA) which can be released when heated up in a microwave oven, so always double-check the label before heating up any plastic dishes. Thankfully, all of Select Setting’s disposable dinnerware is BPA-free, so you don’t have to worry about that in our products.


Knowing whether or not a plastic plate can go into the microwave oven is important, not only for safety purposes but also so that you can make sure your dishes don't melt! The best way to tell whether a plastic plate is safe for use in your microwave oven is by looking out for a “microwave-safe” label, wavy symbols, and a #5 at the bottom of the plate. For compostables,
read the label or check directly with the manufacturer. Always make sure to read labels carefully and take extra precautions when dealing with plastics that contain metallic linings, embossed patterns, or potentially toxic chemicals like BPA. If you have any doubts about whether the plate is safe, it is best to err on the side of caution and not use it in the microwave. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that both your food and kitchenware stay safe throughout mealtime!

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