Not All Plastic is Made the Same: Would packaging products made of CPLA, PLA, or PET be suitable for my business?
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- 03 Mar, 2023
PLA vs CPLA vs PET Advantages and Disadvantages
Plastics have the benefit of being quick and simple to form into items or packaging using pre-made molds, which accounts for their widespread use. Plastic is the ideal material for manufacturing since it is waterproof, affordable, and durable. Conventional plastics require fossil fuels, leave a high carbon footprint, and linger in the environment for hundreds of years, all of which have a substantial negative impact on the ecosystem. The fact that plastic is overly durable is a serious issue that requires immediate attention. The majority of petroleum-based plastics are not biodegradable; instead, they breakdown so slowly that they persist in the environment for a very long time, ending up in landfills, beaches, and oceans. To be clear, bioplastics are either polymers that can degrade in a reasonable amount of time or plastics that can be created at least in part using renewable biological matter (such vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, sugarcane bagasse, sawdust, and food waste).
Scientists are striving to develop new kinds of plastics with biological components that can degrade quickly, don't rely on fossil fuels, and have a smaller carbon impact in order to address this issue.
These new types of plastics made with biological-based ingredients are called bioplastics.
CPLA and PLA are all types of biodegradable plastics that have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their eco-friendliness. However, each of these materials has its own unique characteristics, which make them suitable for different applications. In this blog post, we will explore the differences and uses between CPLA, PLA, and PET.
What is PLA (Polylactic Acid)?
PLA is a type of biodegradable plastic that is made from renewable resources such as corn starch, cassava roots, or sugarcane. It is often used in packaging, disposable tableware, and 3D printing. PLA is a thermoplastic, which means it can be melted and reshaped multiple times.
PLA is also compostable, which means it can be broken down by microorganisms in a composting environment. However, it can take several months to break down, depending on the conditions of the composting environment.
One of the drawbacks of PLA is that it can be brittle and is not suitable for high-temperature applications. It can also take a long time to break down in a landfill, which means it may not be the best option for single-use applications.
What is CPLA (Crystallized Polylactic Acid)?
CPLA is a type of biodegradable plastic that is made by crystallizing PLA. It is heat-resistant and can be used for applications where PLA would deform under high temperatures. CPLA is also more durable than PLA and is often used for disposable tableware, such as cups, plates, and cutlery.
One of the benefits of CPLA is that it is compostable, which means it can be broken down by microorganisms in a composting environment. This makes it an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastics, which can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.
[ CPLA is crystallized PLA, for hotter uses shop coffee lids or cutlery ]
What is PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)?
PET is a type of plastic that is commonly used for packaging, such as soda bottles, food containers, and water bottles. It is also used in the textile industry to make polyester fabric. PET is not biodegradable, which means it can take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill.
[ PET - is 100% recyclable, versatile, and made to be reuse, shop PET Cups ]
Due to its 100% recyclable nature and high sustainability, PET is preferred for plastic bottles (among other uses). The number of resources wasted can be decreased because it can be repeatedly recovered and recycled into new items.
One of the benefits of PET is that it is lightweight and strong, which makes it ideal for packaging applications. It is also resistant to moisture and has good barrier properties, which makes it suitable for food packaging.
Would packaging products made of CPLA, PLA, or PET be suitable for my business?
The demand for compostable bioplastics, including PLA and CPLA, is on the rise because of their reduced impact on the environment and their growing availability to consumers.
CPLA is mechanically the same PLA except that it has been crystallized, making it able to withstand higher temperatures and causing it to be white rather than transparent. PET is not biodegradable, but it is lightweight and strong, and can be recycled. The manufacturing process for these bioplastics is environmentally friendly and a great alternative to traditional plastic manufacturing due to less energy usage, fewer greenhouse emissions and no toxic fumes.
The versatility of these materials makes their applications broad, from food service items, food storage and trash bags. CPLA can withstand higher heat, making it an ideal alternative to plastics such as polystyrene for coffee cups, soup containers and other hot items.
In conclusion, the benefits of PLA, CPLA, and PET bioplastics cannot be overstated. These materials offer a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic due to their renewable plant-based raw materials, less harmful manufacturing processes, and easy compostability or recyclability. As individuals and businesses we all should continue to prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility, it's clear that bioplastics are becoming increasingly necessary. By making the switch to these better options, we can help reduce our impact on the planet and work towards a more sustainable future for generations to come.