No. But if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint using disposable plastic utensils in the first place, will not help you accomplish that goal. By using disposals they are designed for one time use and are petroleum based. If you carry around a reusable fork or spoon in your bag or keep one in your office it helps you from having to contribute to the status of scarce landfill space.
According to a 2008 article in Appliance magazine which put plastics to the “dishwasher safe” test, there are many factors to consider with regards to safety. Generally, it was concluded that the type of plastic, heat, environmental stress cracking (ESC), and even the type of detergent used all place heavy burdens on a product in the dishwasher. Testing also found residual stresses which may or may not be immediately seen. Even polycarbonate, a “safe” plastic has shown signs of these same residual stresses. The bottom line is that plastics in the the dishwasher are vulnerable to a faster rate of erosion that may produce chemical leaching etc. Plastic materials that are immune to the possibility of harmful effects when heated in a dishwasher environment have yet to be produced.
Most disposable plastic utensils that you would get with take-out food, etc. are meant for a one-time use only and are not designed to withstand very hot liquids, let alone the heat of a dishwasher. They could potentially degrade and also may actually visibly melt (especially if you put them on a lower shelf in the washer). However, some stronger plastic cutlery that is designed for more than one use may be dishwasher safe. Always check the package to see if there is a logo indicating that the tool can be washed in the dishwasher.
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