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CPLA stands for “Cyrstalized Poly Lactic Acid”. It is a type of biodegradable plastic derived from corn starch. PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a bio-based polymer made from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. It's often used as an alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics, which are not biodegradable and can contribute to environmental pollution.CPLA is a specific form of PLA that undergoes a crystallization process to enhance its heat resistance. This makes it suitable for use in products like disposable utensils, food containers, and other items that might come into contact with hot liquids or foods. The crystallization process improves the heat resistance and durability of the material while maintaining its biodegradable and compostable properties.


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The Good

  • Compostable (or biodegradable) in industrial compost conditions
  • Does not break down into micro-plastic particles
  • The use of compostable materials in food service packaging aids in the development a functioning circular economic system. This is particularly important for packaging with high levels of contamination from food and beverage products
  • The increased use of compostable materials creates market demand that will lead to the development of important composting infrastructure
  • Reduces reliance on fossil fuels and increases the use of renewable plant-based materials
  • Promoting the development of a composting waste stream also helps to address the problem of the excess waste to the landfill (in the form of food scraps) which has a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions

The Bad

  • More expensive than virgin and recycled plastic materials
  • Despite the exciting opportunity compostable packaging  represents to develop a productive circular economy, currently rates of composting are low
  • If compostable bioplastics end up in a landfill, over time they will generate methane, a greenhouse gas far worse for the environment than carbon dioxide
  • There is a lot of misinformation in relation to compostable materials and they lack universally-accepted labeling and certification standards.

Frequently asked questions

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