What is PLA anyway? This is a short summary of what I have learned from the makers of Ingeo™ PLA resin, used for Bamblu Green Party Cutlery and clear containers and drinkware. This information is needed by retailers, brand owners, and authorities to provide better insight into the performance of Ingeo™ products.
Ingeo™ PLA Basics
- has a heat tolerance of 110 degrees.
- provides excellent clarity, gloss, rigidity and printability.
- excellent for food contact and food related packaging applications.
- is a rigid thermoplastic polymer that can be semicrystalline or totally amorphous.
- used as a paper coating, it provides an excellent barrier to moisture, grease, and oil.
- may be recycled or fully compostable within 60 to 90 days in commercial composting facilities.
- Ingeo™ PLA resin grades are certified by Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) to meet ASTM 6400 test requirement for compostability.
The Order of Ingeo™ PLA
- Cargill Dow LLC owns NatureWorks LLC.
- NatureWorks™ applies its proprietary technology to process natural plant sugars to make Ingeo™ PLA resin.
- Ingeo™ PLA resin is short for Ingeo™ polylactide resin, a biopolymer used to make and market finished products under the Ingeo™ brand name.
- Polylactide is made from lactic acid.
- Lactic acid is made by the fermentation of dextrose syrup.
- NatureWorks™ dextrose syrup is made from corn starch.
- The corn is grown primarily in Nebraska and Iowa, U.S.A.
- “Ingeo” is used to clearly reference NatureWorks™ polylactide biopolymer because the life cycle for polylactides that might be produced elsewhere will be different than Ingeo™ PLA due to: different raw materials (sugar or starch source) and raw material production practices, different technologies for processing these raw materials, different fermentation and polymerization technology, and different background data for electricity/fuel mixes used.
The starting material for making Ingeo™ PLA is made by a fermentation process using one hundred percent annually renewable resources, therefore, Ingeo™ PLA is the first commodity polymer produced from one hundred percent annually renewable resources. The by-products of this process have a very low toxicity and are eventually converted to carbon dioxide and water.
NOTE: Ingeo™ PLA is not CPLA (crystalized PLA), therefore Ingeo™ PLA has no additional additives like wheat, tapioca or potato starch. These may be used to increase the heat tolerance to 140 degrees. Products made of crystalized PLA products have used such methods as isothermal annealing, polymer blending or compounding with inorganic particles, and strain-induced crystallization. In particular, solvent-induced crystallization has produced PLA materials with high crystallization; however, that process uses organic solvents which are difficult to eliminate from the final product and are not environmentally friendly.
- 2001 November - NatureWorks LLC started the production of Ingeo polylactide resins (biopolymers) in Blair, Nebraska, U.S.A.
- 2002 - NatureWorks™ began their production of lactic acid in a new facility located next to the polymer plant. Today, they are the only large-scale commercial production plants for polylactide worldwide.
- 2002 June - Cargill Dow LLC was recognized for their process to produce NatureWorks™ PLA, marketed as Ingeo™ PLA. AWARDED: United States Environmental Protection Agency Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge, Alternate Solvents/Reaction Conditions Award, June 2002.
- 2003 - NatureWorks LLC globally introduced Ingeo™ on a commercially viable scale.
A further note, provided by NatureWorks™:
Green chemistry is the use of chemistry for the production of materials that fulfill the definition of sustainability.
Green chemistry is the use of chemistry for pollution prevention.
To be more specific, green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or completely eliminate the use of, or generation of hazardous substances.
Cargill Dow’s process embodies the well-known Principles of Green Chemistry by
(1) preventing pollution at the source through the use of a natural fermentation process to produce lactic acid,
(2) using annually renewable materials instead of petroleum-based materials,
(3) eliminating the use of solvents or other hazardous materials,
(4) completely recycling product and by-product streams, and
(5) efficiently using catalysts to reduce energy consumption and improve yield.
- Inventory is warehoused in Sonoma County and Alameda County, California.
- Order by phone or through this site. Many orders may be picked up at our office in Sebastopol, CA.
- Ships in 1 to 2 business days with free UPS ground shipping for orders of $50 or more.
- Will ship to the United States (for further shipping details, visit here.)
~ by Vangie Pullins.
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