Beware! PLA Might Not Be as Eco-Friendly as You Think

Many companies switched to biodegradable plastic with hopes that it would change the world and lead to a smaller carbon footprint. But here are a few things they didn’t know about PLA and why switching to PLA is the same as sticking to regular plastic.

Understanding PLA

So, what is PLA? And when we say biodegradable, what exactly do we mean?

PLA stands for polylactic acid, which is basically a thermoplastic monomer. This is generated from renewable organic sources like sugar cane or maize starch.

Since PLA manufacturing uses biomass resources, it is what distinguishes it from other kinds of plastics, which are made by utilizing fossil fuels. The process uses distillation and polymerization of petroleum.

PLA Is Not Eco-Friendly

Though many companies are well-intentioned in their efforts for good change in hopes of saving our eco-systems, their efforts are half-hearted. The problem when switching to PLA products is that it is not as eco-friendly as we think.

Furthermore, a company needs to have a strategy that also tackles changes in their recycling and sorting procedures, both of which are critical to effectively managing the environment.

But Isn’t PLA Really Biodegradable?

PLA plastic is biodegradable, but the process requires that PLA be heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and subjected to particular digestive microorganisms to biodegrade.

These conditions are quite demanding, and many times PLA waste is not transferred to the correct industrial facility. This makes it nearly impossible for PLA to be recycled, and instead, it ends up in landfills or our seas.

                         paper cups and straws

Is PLA The Same As Plastic

PLA must be properly sorted and industrial composted before being considered a viable, “eco-friendly” alternative.

Otherwise, you might as well consider them to be the same as ordinary plastic.

The Alternate To Plastic

This is why restaurants need to switch to eco-friendly or bamboo-based products to serve food. Eco-friendly disposable cups, disposable cutlery, drink containers, and storage containers that are 100% biodegradable and hygienic.

At our online restaurant supply store Custom Cup Factory LLC (CCF), we have Bamboo series that include soup containers and meal boxes that are compostable and biodegradable since they are constructed entirely of bamboo fiber.  To learn more about eco-friendly options, get in touch or contact us here.