Catering Supplies – Going Biodegradable?

soup-containers-groupAt Inn Supplies we’ve always stocked a wide range of specific biodegradable products or compostable alternatives to traditional items. Over the past year we’ve worked hard at expanding this range, there’s now more choice than ever before for customers that specifically require biodegradable items.

Moving towards biodegradable alternatives is a topic that has attracted huge media focus over the past 6 months in particular, the aim being to reduce landfill waste and litter from discarded packaging.

Our range of compostable and biodegradable catering products currently includes the following:

  • Round Biodegradable Plates
  • Square Biodegradable Plates
  • Biodegradable Bowls
  • Biodegradable Food Boxes
  • Biodegradable Paper Cups
  • Biodegradable Soup Cups
  • Biodegradable Plastic Cutlery

In addition to these, many other items from our catalogue are inherently biodegradable due to being made from 100% recycled paper:

  • Paper Tablecloths
  • Paper Napkins
  • Cup Sleeves

Products can be classed as biodegradable for several reasons, for our range this boils down to:

  • Made from 100% paper; this will degradable naturally and completely as it contains no other additives or coating.
  • Produced from an alternative material that doesn’t require a coating. Sugarcane / Bagasse is a good example of this. These are made from sugarcane pulp which is 100% biodegradable.
  • Featuring a coating that is designed to be biodegradable / compostable. Our biodegradable paper cups use a PLA corn starch coating instead of the more common Polyethylene plastic coating.
  • Items using an additive. Our biodegradable cutlery uses an additive called Addiflex which makes the plastic compostable.

As an ethical supplier of catering disposables we’re always keen to offer environmentally friendly options to customers. We also have a strict policy for sourcing disposables than are ethically produced and from sustainable resources.

You can find our full range of biodegradable disposables at:

Our team are also happy to offer advice on our biodegradable items, simply get in touch for more information.

Reusable Plastic Glasses and Barware

hiball plastic glassesWe’ve got a huge range of disposable paper and plastic products for most occasions; however we also stock an extensive range of hard plastic reusable items. There are several reasons why you might want to consider a reusable plastic product over a cheaper disposable alternative, such as:

  • Strength
    If you’re catering for a function that specifically requires more substantial glasses, our hard plastic reusable tumblers might be preferable.
  • Potential reuse
    This needs to be calculated on a case-by-case basis, but if it’s possible that the glasses might be reused there’s a point where it becomes more economical to use a reusable glass over a disposable type.
  • Specific style of glass
    Unfortunately not all glass shapes are possible or commonly available in disposable plastic. This can be for a variety of reasons, often because the shape would potentially be too weak for a disposable glass and too prone to breakage. Reusable glasses are available in a much wider variety of styles and have huge inherent strength.
  • Commercial use
    This is the most common reason for using a hard plastic reusable glass; commercial venues are often required to offer an alternative to glassware for after-hours or outdoor usage. This can be a council licencing stipulation, these are rigidly enforced for safety reasons. Polycarbonate reusable glasses are virtually unbreakable making them much safer than glassware in pubs, bars and clubs.

We stock reusable plastic glasses in 2 main material types. A standard hard plastic ‘light use’ type (ECON) which is made from crystal Polystyrene, and a harder plastic virtually unbreakable type (ELITE) made from Polycarbonate. The most suitable type is completely dependent on the intended usage; Polycarbonate glasses tend to be the go-to choice for commercial environments, however Polystyrene glasses are more popular for home or occasional usage. For all intents and purposes they look very similar; the Polycarbonate glasses are thicker and heavier however.

You can find the full reusable barware range reusable plastic glasses on our site at:

reusable plastic barware

New Premium Polycarbonate Plastic Goblets

157-1CL NS We’ve just launched a new line of polycarbonate plastic goblets, designed to be similar to the Birra Moretti pint glasses and the traditional Stella Artois Chalice. In addition to the usual 20oz / 568ml reusable pint glasses we’re also stocking a 10oz (half pint) and 15oz version in the same style.

These are made from virtually unbreakable Polycarbonate plastic, great for outdoor or after hours use at pubs / bars. The glasses cannot be broken and used to cause harm making them much safer than glassware. Polycarbonate is especially durable so can be reused continually; these are tested to 500 cycles in the glass washer without degradation. We also stock a rinse aid and polycarbonate-specific detergent to further prolong the life of these and keep them looking great for front of house use.

You can find our range of Polycarbonate Tumblers at:


Paper Tablecloth Colours and Paper Napkins

TablecoversWe stock a range of disposable paper tablecloths and a range of napkins.  Obviously these items will commonly be ordered together, however there are shade differences between several of the colours. This is simply because the items come from different sources (and indeed different countries!)

To assist with making an informed choice, we’ve compiled the list below for customers hoping to match the table cloths to the napkins for functions and events.

Tablecloth colour Napkin colour Comments
Black Black (24cm,33cm,40cm) Perfect match
Burgundy Burgundy (33cm,40cm) Extremely close match
Candy Pink Pink (33cm,40cm) Extremely close match
Lilac Purple (33cm) Close but not an exact match
Lincoln Green Forest Green (33cm,40cm) Excellent match
Metallic Gold N/A
Metallic Silver N/A
Purple Purple (33cm) Napkins are complementary, but lighter
Red Red (33cm,40cm)
Red Gingham N/A
Royal Blue Dark Blue (33cm,40cm) Very close match
White White (24cm,33cm,40cm) Perfect match

We offer several other colours in our range of napkins which may be complementary to existing tablecloth colours, however these are the colours and shades which either match or are very close to matching. Our sales team can assist further with matching the colours if required. Our paper tablecloths can be found at:

How Green are Disposable Paper Tablecloths?

paper tableclothsDisposable tablecovers are occasionally dismissed as an alternative to using linen on environmental grounds, there’s a somewhat unfair stigma about disposable products being wasteful. This isn’t always true however, our range of paper tablecloths are made from 100% recycled paper meaning they have negligible effect on natural resources. Only disposable products that come into direct contact with food / drink need to be made from virgin grade paperboard, table covers do not fall into this category. They’re made from an ethical and completely renewable resource, 100% recycled.

In terms of waste, the product is 100% paper and therefore completely biodegradable. It will degrade naturally like any other waste paper, ideally however it should be sorted and disposed of with your paper waste collection so it can be recycled once again.

The decision about the type of tablecover used basically boils down to the type of usage envisaged.  Temporary or one-off events are ideally suited to disposable tableware, often there are no facilities for laundering and quick changes can be made in the event of a spillage. Restaurants often use these too during busier times, sometimes in addition to a traditional tablecloth to catch spills and reduce the amount of laundering required. For higher volume users we supply full cases of 200 units, in addition to the standard packs of 25.

We stock disposable cloths in the most common 3ft square size (90x90cm), a common 2 seater table size used in restaurants. Our tablecovers come in a pack containing 25 items, joined together but with perforations for separation. You could use 2 or 3 of these together if required if covering a larger table. Beyond this, a banquet roll might be more suitable.

Please feel free to get in touch with our sales team for further information. Our paper tablecloths can be found at:

Marine waste and the plastic straw

plastic strawsIt seems that barely a day goes by without another article in the news claiming that plastic straws are littering the UK coastlines, affecting wildlife and upsetting locals. The following article from BBC News ( discusses how the Marine Conservation Society is backing a proposed ban (by the Final Straw campaign) on single use plastic straws in Scotland.

The goal here is a sound one in principle, there is litter on UK coastlines and it does indeed affect wildlife; there’s no disputing this. As retailers of single use disposables we’re keen to promote the ethical and responsible use of catering disposables, indeed a large percentage of our range is now biodegradable for this reason.

There is unfortunately a fundamental disconnect between the action being taken to remove these straws and the actual cause of the pollution. The action assumes that because the waste exists it’s a foregone conclusion that it will end up being dumped in the ocean.  Surely a better solution to this would be to target the irresponsible dumping of our waste into the oceans? Sadly pumping waste into the sea at offshore locations is often chosen as the cheapest method of waste disposal, however the capability and infrastructure already exists to process this waste. If sorted properly, a huge percentage can be recycled or repurposed. Studies in America have actually shown that the most efficient way of dealing with waste that cannot be processed is combustion ( ; waste can be used as a fuel, incinerated and turned into usable electricity.

Instead, we seem to be focusing on selective reduction of specific types of waste (such as plastic straws) over reassessing how the country treats waste. Perhaps a more holistic approach is required for tackling pollution on our coastlines?

Plastic straws can be found on our site at:

Biodegradable Paper Cups

biodegradable paper cupsCompostable / Biodegradable paper cups have seen an exponential increase in popularity since their introduction way back in 2012. More and more commercial customers are adopting these cups as an alternative to the more traditional plain white single wall paper cups.  In the UK we use currently use 7 million paper cups every day and there’s currently a push in the media promoting switching to compostable products.

The actual cup itself is exactly the same, made from the same virgin grade paperboard as any other single wall cup. The difference comes from the lining used inside the cup. All disposable cups need some sort of inner lining to maintain the integrity of the cup, without any lining the cup would absorb water, leak and go rather soggy! The lining forms a waterproof barrier and stops the paper absorbing liquid.

A regular disposable cup has a PE lining (polyethylene), this is a plastic-based product which is not compostable. Biodegradable cups feature a different type of lining; this is PLA (Polylactic Acid), a resin made from corn starch. This lining is completely biodegradable and compostable. Our cups comply with EN13432, which is the European standard for compostability.

Biodegradable paper cups can be sent to any composting facility for processing. It’s increasingly common to find mandates to use biodegradable disposables in the workplace, in these scenarios, where companies have a composting scheme set up, our range of PLA biodegradable cups are the perfect solution.

We also stock a range of biodegradable plastic lids to fit this range of cups; these are the same size as the regular lids used for our 8oz or 10-20oz cups. You could even use these on our full range of cups if desired.

You can find our biodegradable paper cups and biodegradable lids at:

Please feel free to get in touch with our sales team if you require advice on our range of biodegradable cups, we’d be more than happy to help.

Disposable Paper Bowls Range

disposable paper bowlsNew to our range of disposable plates are our 2 paper bowls, these are designed to complement our existing plate sizes for high volume catering or economy usage. We now stock a small (16cm / 6”) and large (19cm / 7.5”) sized bowl, suitable for liquids, soup, sauces or oily foods. These are made from virgin grade paperboard with a PE (polyethylene) coating.

These are a great alternative to our existing range of high quality sugarcane bowls (found at, perfect for where a lower cost per unit is desirable or where large quantities are required. You’ll frequently see this type of bowl used for outdoor catering or for product sampling purposes / product trials. They’re also popular with parties and private events.

Which bowl is most suitable? This basically boils down to the intended usage. The biodegradable sugarcane bowls are physically more rigid and quite a bit stronger as a result. They’re the best choice when serving a main meal rather than light use as a side plate for snacks etc. They are however significantly more expensive as a result, which is where you might want to consider the economy disposable paper bowls. The economy item is much cheaper per unit and perfect for lighter use, often a heavyweight item is simply not required. If the product is simply going to see lighter use at parties or private events the economy bowls may well be the better choice. They’re also more compact due to the lighter grade of material used.

You can find our range of paper food bowls at:, available as either small packs of 50 or a full case (250 or 600 for the small and large sizes respectively). Samples are available on request; please get in touch with our friendly sales team for more information.


More about Double Wall Paper Cups

Double Wall Paper CupsWhich cups should I order?
This choice basically comes down to the intended use of the item and partially personal preference. An insulated cup is preferable where you might plan on serving Black Tea / Coffee, or other hot beverages without Milk. These tend to be much hotter and therefore benefit from the extra insulation, a double wall cup won’t feel as hot to touch as a single wall cup. Some customers also simply prefer a more substantial cup; if they’re serving a more premium beverage for example.

How do these cups provide extra insulation?
There is an extra layer that forms a barrier on the outer of the cup, this traps air between the cup itself and the layer which the customer holds. The extra barrier provides extra insulation from the heat source, keeping the warmth in and the cup a sensible temperature to hold.

Which cups provide the best insulation?
In descending order, our ranges of cups would be ranked as follows:-

  • Single wall with additional sleeve
  • Ripple cups
  • Ultimate / triple layer cups
  • Double Wall cups
  • Single wall cups

Can I have these cups customised? Yes, we provide printing services on our full range of paper cups for quantities of 10,000 units and above. You can find more information on the custom printed section of our website at:

You can find our full range of Double Wall Paper Cups at:

10oz Discount on New Black Double Wall Paper Cups

Black Double Wall Paper CupsWe’ve just added plain Black to our range of double wall paper cups, in addition to the existing plain White and Barista mixed design cups already available in this category. Double wall cups provide an extra layer of insulation over the standard single-wall cups, the additional outer layer keeps the drink warmer for longer and makes the cup more comfortable to hold.

We’re offering these in the usual range of sizes; 8oz (small), 12oz (regular) and 16oz (large) – they accept the same sip-through lids as the rest of our disposable paper cups (excluding ultimate).

As this is a new range, the Black double wall cups are discounted by 10% when you order 2+ cases, no need for any discount codes – this will be automatically applied to your order when you order a quantity of 2 or above. This offer is available until the end of January.

You can find Double Wall Paper Cups on our site at: