Last year, when my son was about 16 months old, I scoured the internet to find some plates and bowls for him that were truly green, but did not feel like plastic – be it BPA free, plant derived plastic, as most eco-children’s plates seem to be. They also had to be practical: I wanted to be able to put them in the dishwasher if needed (which is hard with wooden bowls and plates) and I wanted my toddler to become used to eating on plates that felt similar to grownup china but would not break easily. Lastly, they should look simple and be kid friendly without bright cartoon characters or overly cute prints. After much research, I chanced upon this line by a small California based company called Brinware and felt I had found exactly what I was looking for.
What's To Love?:
Greener aspects: The plates are made from tempered glass, which as its name suggests is glass processed by certain thermal treatments to make it stronger than most other glass. While it does not break easily, if it does, it breaks into many little bubbles not shards like regular glass and so it is also known as safety glass. If you have ever used anything by cookware company PYREX you are familiar with tempered glass. Even so, Brinware Founder and Designer Alana Field was not taking any chances. She added extra cushioning as well as a pop of kid friendly cover to her plates with colourful, removable plate covers made from food grade silicone. These sit on the bottom of each plate and slip onto the plate – the flexible silicone edge holds onto the plate and does not slip off, but it comes off easily when it is time to wash and dry the plate. Silicone has a high heating point, is plastic free and does not absorb odours, which makes it perfect in the kitchen – it’s safety and non-reactiveness have also made it the favourite material for baby bottle teats and pacifiers.
What’s to love?
The plates are lightweight and easy to handle – my son loves them. They come with beautiful screened designs that are printed onto the back of each plate with 100% lead free ink. Alana Field, Brinware designer, used her experience in the textile industry to use a technique similar to screening on fabric, and reverse screened catchy designs such as a seascape with fishes, or a forest scene with an owl onto the tempered glass plates. The colourful plate covers offer a backdrop by which the screened prints can be seen. The plates are also easy to clean, you just remove the cover and wash the plate and cover separately, then let them dry.
Why buy versus go without?
They teach your child to eat responsibly on a real glass plate – meal time becomes more special. Plus the plates will last for many years.
Other things you should know
Brinware currently offers an array of plates as well as really fun silicone table mats that also happen to be screened with the alphabet, which adds some more interest at mealtimes. Field is working on a series of bowls as well.
Right now two of the safest materials for serving and storing food are glass and silicone. Brinware combines them beautifully.
Simple, safer, reusable, and in this mama’s opinion very good-looking.
Due to the double protection - tempered glass and silicon cover these could last your family a lifetime. (Haven't tested the ink over a generation, but even without I hope they'll be around for the potential grandkids.)
More of an investment than a plastic dish set, but you get what you pay for — a safe dish for dining and some style to come with the food.