At the moment, people are having a bit of a crisis of confidence when it comes to recyclable packaging. It seems each week new recyclable materials are invented that are biodegradable, compostable, reusable – anything you want.
But in reality, is this just “greenwashing“?
THE PLA CONTROVERSY
PLA stands for polylactic acid. It’s a plastic derived from natural materials such as cornstarch, tapioca, and sugarcane. You can check out a more detailed description of PLA on our materials glossary page, which provides you with an in depth description of some of WholesalePak’s most commonly sourced materials.
Currently, PLA is marketed as a recyclable, biodegradable material and, as a result, it’s fast becoming a popular food packaging material. However, recently PLA has come under fire because it’s only recyclable if it’s composted commercially, under high temperatures. Some argue PLA takes such a long time to decompose in traditional landfills, it doesn’t deserve the title of biodegradable.
WHAT WE THINK
WholesalePak still thinks of PLA as a sustainable product because it is made from abundant natural materials, which is far better than petroleum-based plastics. It is also fine to use if you live in a city or state that has a commercial compost to sort PLA products into. However, we understand the other side of the argument.
WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT PLA?
Many straws are made out of PLA plastics. You might be wondering, what are WholesalePak’s straws made out of? Introducing our new, biodegradable eco-straws. Made from Oxo Biodegradable plastic and compliant with the Australian ASTM D6954-04 (2013) standards for exposing and testing of degradable plastics, Oxo Biodegradable is the perfect compromise.
HOW DOES OXO BIODEGRADABLE WORK?
Oxo Biodegradable plastics combine traditional (non-degradable) plastics such as PE, PP and PET with a pro-degradant additive called ‘reverte’. This breaks the polymer’s molecular chains, meaning at the end of OB’s life – the product falls apart. The oxidisation process then allows the product to break even further down in a biodegradable sense, either in a landfill environment or even in an open environment within 9 months. The straw will eventually become carbon dioxide, water and biomass. Yay for science!
What’s the lesson here? We think it’s that, unfortunately, there is no lazy man or women’s way when it comes to living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. We should always support eco-product and industry, but it’s up to us at the end of the day to do our homework and check whether our plastics are recyclable. That being said, do your homework and check out WholesalePak’s new biodegradable straws! They’re environmentally sustainable, and importantly a step in the right direction towards protecting planet Earth.
If you’d like more information or any specific details regarding the certifications of these products, please get in touch with Wholesalepak.