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Questions about PLA/Bio Plastics

Q: What does PLA mean?

PLA is polylactic acid which is made from corn starch. This material is made from renewable resources and it is compostable & biodegradable.

Q: How is unique about PLA and how it is different than regular plastic?

PLA is very unique material since it is made from corn and not from petroleum. Regular plastics is made from petroleum while PLA is made from corn based resins which makes PLA non toxic and annually renewable resources. PLA is very environmentally friendly material since it is made from renewable resource – Corn. Plastics products may take upto thousand years to degrade while PLA products biodegrade within 3-6 months in a composting system.

Q: Are PLA products microwave and freezer safe?

The PLA clear products are heat resistant to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. So, PLA products are good for cold products. PLA is freezer safe , but PLA is not microwave  safe.

Q: Why do you recommend some of your bioplastic products for hot food?

Our cutlery products and coffee lids are made from modified PLA which is called CPLA. PLA products don’t offer high heat tolerance, and they can tolerate only upto 110 F. So, we make our cutlery products including knife, spoon, fork, stirrer, testing spoon and coffee lids etc.from CPLA (modified PLA) . This material tolerance upto 185 F.   They can be safely used for hot soup, coffee, and other hot beverages.They are also 100% renewable, biodegradable and compostable.

Q: How long will PLA products take to degrade or compost?
 
PLA products will take up to 6 months to degrade in commercial composting facility. In home composting facility, it may take longer time.
 
Q: Can PLA products be thrown into the regular trash?
 
Yes. However, please note that PLA products require certain conditions for degradation which includes appropriate amount of heat, moisture and air, etc. Generally, conventional landfills do not fulfill these necessary conditions. If PLA products are thrown into the trash, they may be ended up in the landfill and it may take very long time over there to degrade due to lack of appropriate conditions.
 
Q: Should PLA products be thrown into the recycling bin?
 
It is not highly recommended to throw into the recycling bin.  If these products are thrown into the recycling bin, they may degrade in the actual recycling process.
 
Q:  What does mean Ingeo™?

We use Ingeo brand to manufacture our PLA line of products. Ingeo is a biopolymer made from polylactide (PLA) that can be derived from plants like corn, soy protein, potatoes etc. Ingeo is  generally made from corn; it is brand name of PLA which is produced by US based company called NatureWorks. Ingeo perform much like traditional plastics, but are made from annually renewable resources like corn plants and it is compostable and biodegradable.
 
Q:  Can people use Ingeo corn based plastic if they are allergic to corn?
 
Yes. Ingeo plastic is a corn-derived plastic, however Ingeo is certified by GeneScan to contain no genetic material. During its high heat manufacturing processing, it eliminates any immunologically reactive contents. Because of this, Ingeo can be safely used by people who are allergic to corn.
 
Q:  Is that concerning fact that Ingeo™ / PLA products harm the food supply available to human lives?

Ingeo products  little to no impact  food prices or supply. We use NatureWorks' Ingeo resins. Natureworks uses the dextrose made from feed corn to make Ingeo. This source is widely available and very inexpensive in US.

Please see the following facts that are provided by Natureworks regarding Ingeo:

Right now...

  • Ingeo is made from dextrose (sugar) that is derived from field corn already grown for many industrial & functional end-uses.  In North America, corn has been used first because it is the most economically feasible source of plant starches.
  • We use less than 1/20th of 1% (0.05%) of the annual global corn crop today, so there's little to no impact on food prices or supply (1). 
  • The process does not require corn, we only need a sugar source.  This could include sugar beets, sugar cane, wheat and more.
Q:  What type of  (GM) corn do you use in your products?

We use Ingeo resin made in USA by Nature works. This resin is made from non GM and GM corn which is grown in USA.  Ingeo is certified and contains no genetic material Please see the following facts that are provided by Natureworks regarding their GM and source options:

GM & SOURCE OPTIONS:

  • Making Ingeo does not require genetically modified (GM) materials.
  • Ingeo is certified by GeneScan to contain no genetic material. 
  • Currently, the corn grown in the U.S. is a mixed stream of GM and conventional corn. 
  • To address variable global market demands around GM feedstock, NatureWorks offers 3 certified source options.