Here is one big reason why food manufacturers and consumer product goods retailers are still hesitant about using corn-based plastics.
According to The Oregonian newspaper, it is difficult for recyclers to recycle corn-based polylactic acid (PLA) plastics because it melts at lower temperatures compared to traditional resins such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This means PLA plastic has to be separated from PET plastic (either by consumers or recyclers), which is a big headache.
It is said that the estimated amount of PLA plastic needed to contaminate a PET load are as high as 4 percent and as low as one bottle in 1,000. It is much easier to dispose PLA plastic-based utensils, cups, and dishes especially in cafeteria, convention centers and sports venues because they’ll be disposed with other compostable materials.
PLA plastics are said to be both recyclable and compostable according to manufacturers. The newly formed Bioplastics Recycling Consortium is said to be working on the problem.
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