USING disposable ware, biodegradable or otherwise, has its advantages, if you ask those who are in the catering industry.
“I need to deploy much more manpower if the function has to use reusable plates, cups and cutlery. It is usual for guests to leave them all over the place, and the caterer will also have to absorb some breakages along the way,’’ said Norsyaliza Mohamad, assistant manager of Arena Events & Services.
Another operator said that manpower requirements can vary by up to 40% at a large function when reusable plates and cutlery are used. “And it is not enough to bring just 1,000 plates when you are catering for 1,000. You need to bring at least 2,000 plates as people are known to leave half-empty plates all over, and will not hesitate to grab a fresh plate. Using disposables is much easier as they are light and require no washing or collection,’’ said a cook from Creative Catering.
When Sariya Yatim, owner of Dapur Emas Catering, offered to use tableware made of tapioca, her customers were not interested as they did not want to pay for the price difference compared to foam plates. “But generally, most of my clients do not request for disposable tableware as the perception is that the event will not appear classy if disposable utensils are used,’’ she said.
A polystyrene clamshell can be as cheap as 7.5 sen each, or even less for larger orders, while a biodegradable option easily costs four times as much.