It's no secret that packaging, especially plastic, exposes our throwaway culture, and PLA plastic can be a great solution for achieving an "environmentally friendly" status for your packaging. Our team took a closer look at PLA plastic and below we present everything you need to know about this packaging.
PLA stands for polylactic acid. Made from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane, it is a natural polymer designed to replace widely used petroleum-based plastics such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate).
In the packaging industry, PLA plastic is often used in plastic films and food containers.
It is well known that the world's oil reserves will eventually run out. Since petroleum-based plastics come from oil, they will become more difficult to source and manufacture as time goes on. PLA, however, can be continually renewed because it is processed from natural sources.
PLA plastics have some great ecological advantages over petroleum-based plastics. According to independent reports, the production of PLA uses 65% less energy and produces 63% fewer greenhouse gases.
In a controlled environment, PLA breaks down naturally and returns to the earth, so it can be classified as a biodegradable and compostable material.
Well, PLA plastic is compostable, great! But don't expect to use PLA plastic. But don't expect to be using your little garden composter anytime soon. To properly dispose of PLA plastics, you must send them to a commercial facility. These facilities use an extremely controlled environment to accelerate decomposition. However, the process still takes up to 90 days.
In order to produce PLA, you need a lot of corn. As PLA production continues and demand increases, it could affect the price of corn in the global market.
PLA films will always affect the shelf life of perishable foods. What many people fail to see is this inevitable paradox. You want a material that degrades over time, but you also want your product to stay as fresh as possible.
The average life of a PLA film from manufacturing to end use can be as short as 6 months. That means only 6 months to make the packaging, package the product, sell the product, ship it to the store and have the product consumed. This is especially difficult for brands looking to export their products, as PLA does not provide the protection and longevity needed.
PLA plastic can be a great way for you to adopt a more environmentally friendly approach to packaging. But brands need to carefully weigh all the pros and cons before investing in a packaging overhaul to meet loosely short-term environmental requirements.
By investing in more eco-friendly packaging solutions, companies are showing positive steps toward a more sustainable future.
If you would like more information about viable solutions for your packaging today, please contact us and HYF will be happy to provide you with a solution.
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