Plastic or Wooden Chopping Board ?

Plastic or wooden chopping boards

I could talk for days as to why I would recommend a wooden chopping board, but I will try and keep this a bit shorter. Over time there has been conflicting information as to what is the most hygienic material to make chopping boards from, and to say the least it can get confusing. Everyone's kitchen is different and wood isn't for everyone but I want to share my opinions and research. 

Plastic chopping boards

There is a lot of conflicting information around wood vs plastic chopping boards. However, in this blog I have turned to facts and science and spent a while researching this topic to really have a deep understanding about this to aid my business. Throughout my research I found quite a few science papers done mainly in America, which I have quoted in this blog. The idea behind plastic chopping boards is that they are cheap to produce, don’t blunt knives and can be put in the dishwasher to clean therefore making them a low hassel material for consumers. From the hygenic view plastic is a non porous material so is thought to not hold bacteria . Because of being washed in the dishwasher the misconception is that they are more hygienic than wooden chopping boards. However this is not quite the case, a lot of plastics are self healing so when the knife cuts  and leaves a groove the plastic board the self healing properties of plastic can close back around encapsulating the bacteria in the board. This results in the board being difficult to effectively disinfect. When the plastic board becomes overly knife scarred it is easy and cost effective to dispose of. However this is not beneficial to the environment, and is an unnecessary waste of a product that will take years to decompose.  In a scientific study the following statement was concluded ‘Bacteria inoculated onto Plastic blocks were readily recovered for minutes to hours and would multiply if held overnight.’ source

Wooden chopping boards 

People can be quick to judge wooden chopping boards saying they blunt knives and are a porous material making them not hygienic to use in a kitchen. However during the studies the results have reflected differently. Although wood is porous which allows food juices and bacteria to enter the wood unless highly waterproof .The moisture is drawn in by capillary action until there is no more free fluid on the surface, at which point immigration ceases. Bacteria in the wood pores are not killed instantly, but neither do they return to the surface. As wood is a more dense material than plastic knives make less of a groove meaning bacteria can more easily be disinfected from the surface. The other benefit of wood is the ability to remove the initial surface of the wooden board revealing hygienic new wood below that can be refinished and used for many more months so from a sustainability point much better than plastic. Some further extracts from the studies support that wooden chopping boards are more hygienic.  

 'Further, one of these studies indicated that use of plastic cutting boards in home kitchens is hazardous, whereas use of wooden cutting boards is not.’

‘These results do not support the often-heard assertion that Plastic cutting boards are more sanitary than wood.’

Sources from National Library of Medicine

My thoughts 

From studying bespoke furniture we spent time studying the composition of timber and how it behaves, so I did already have some understanding of this topic, however I found it really interesting researching and seeing everyones opinions on this. This research reinforced my views that wooden chopping boards are the most hygienic option. For me the ability to sand the board down and completely re-finish the board a number of times means you can really keep the board hygienic and looking fresh, in a sustainable way. 

I would be really interested in your views on what material you use for your chopping board, let me know … 

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