'Earth-friendly' claims for corn-based plastics can mislead; local businesses ...
Buying eco-friendly products is good for the environment and it makes consumers feel good, but some “green” products have caveats. Fortunately for Grand Rapids, two area companies are working to ensure that certain eco-friendly products meet their intended end.
Here’s a little background: Polylactic acid (PLA) is a material used in packaging, disposable cups, bowls, utensils, and boxes. Unlike the widely used, petroleum-based polyethylene terephthalate, commonly known as PET, PLA is derived from renewable cornstarch. PLA manufacturer NatureWorks LLC says the product emits 60 percent less greenhouse gases than polymers like PET.
From an environmental standpoint, this is great news but the claim that the material decomposes into carbon dioxide and water in less than 90 days does not involve your backyard compost heap. It must be done in a controlled composting environment that reaches 140 degrees for ten consecutive days . Nationwide, there are only 113 such composting facilities.