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For the 1968 garage rock album, see Disposable (album).
"Single use" redirects here. For the concept in operating system technology, see Single user.

A disposable (also called disposable product) is a product designed for a single use after which it is recycled or is disposed as solid waste. The term often implies cheapness and short-term convenience rather than medium to long-term durability. The term is also sometimes used for products that may last several months (e.g. disposable air filters) to distinguish from similar products that last indefinitely (e.g. washable air filters).

Materials and costs[edit]

Disposables are most often made from paper, plastic, cotton, or polystyrene foam.

Examples of disposables[edit]

Kitchen & dining products[edit]

Medical & Hygiene products[edit]

Medical and surgical device manufacturers worldwide produce a multitude of items that are intended for one use only. The primary reason is infection control; when an item is used only once it cannot transmit infectious agents to subsequent patients. Manufacturers of any type of medical device are obliged to abide by numerous standards and regulations. ISO 15223: Medical Devices and EN 980 cite that single use instruments or devices be labelled as such on their packaging with a universally recognized symbol to denote "do not re-use," "single use," or "use only once". This symbol is the numeral 2, within a circle with a 45° line through it.

Examples of single use items include:


Defense and law enforcement[edit]

Other consumer products[edit]

Environmental impact[edit]

The use of disposable products had led to a marked increase in trash and is a major cause of overconsumption. Some movements, such as landfill diversion, seek to combat disposable item overuse and the resulting trash.


See also[edit]