What is it about plastic cutlery?

I’m in Cambridge Massachusetts for a bit more than a week, attending a bunch of meetings. Occasionally on these trips, there are moments when you encounter an element of a different culture that you just don’t get. This time, it’s the apparent preference of US folks for plastic cutlery, plates, etc.Strangeness 1, from this European’s pespective: The breakfast buffet at the Residence Inn actually offers both the throw-away plastic stuff, and the real china and metalware variant. Strangeness 2: Many of the US guests actually chose the plastic stuff. Why on earth?