Donate |

Claim check: Chinet Classic White and Hefty Basics plates

Do these disposable dishes decompose?

Consumer Reports magazine: February 2013

The claim. Chinet Classic White plates and Hefty Basics Plates are claimed to be “biodegradable in home composting” yet strong and durable. Chinet says its plates are made from recycled material; Hefty says its plates, which are tan, have no inks or coatings.

The check. We put the plates in a compost pile at our Yonkers, N.Y., facility, using no special effort to help them break down. (To keep tabs on their condition, we placed them inside individual containers of compost and periodically checked for decomposition.) To test the plates’ strength in use, we used them at a picnic, and to hold hot chili. And we used a machine to test how easy it was to bend the plates. We also ran all of those tests on two paper plates that aren’t claimed to be compostable: Dixie Ultra and America’s Choice.

Bottom line.
Poof! The Hefty disintegrated completely in three weeks; the Chinet in five weeks. The other plates disintegrated, too. The process took longer, but when we checked at three months, they were gone. Dixie was strongest, followed by Chinet, Hefty, and the clear loser—America’s Choice, which worked best if our picnickers nestled two or three plates. No plates leaked chili, but they all let some steam seep through from top to bottom. The Dixie stayed driest. Going green could cost slightly more green: Per plate, Hefty Basic and Chinet cost about 13 to 15 cents; Dixie Ultra, 9 to 20 cents, depending on the deal we found; and America’s Choice, about 10 cents.

   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

WASHING MACHINE REVIEWS
Why do washers and dryers cost so much?Video Blame in part the rising cost of manufacturing and transportation.
SMART PHONE REVIEWS
First look: Fire Phone puts Amazon in your pocketVideo App choices are limited to Amazon Appstore, which lacks Google offerings.
SEDAN REVIEWS
Buick Regal and Volvo S60 challenge class leadersVideo These updated sports sedans prove surprising—in a good way
TV REVIEWS
What's between you and Samsung's 105-incher? $120k. The UHD set, model UN105S9W, has an extra-wide curved 21:9 screen.
CARS NEWS
Will a 'black box' in your car invade your privacy?Video You’re trading personal information for safety and convenience.
ELECTRONICS NEWS
Find out which smart watches are ready for prime timeVideo Reviews of the Martian Passport, Pebble Steel, and 3 Samsung models.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more