The race to find the best alternative materials for eco-friendly restaurant supplies continues, and direct competitors for traditional plastics are becoming increasingly popular. Two of the most popular options are PLA (polylactic acid) and CPLA (crystallized polylactic acid). Both have properties that make them a better choice for the environment than traditional plastic but give them performance specifications that are just as good as traditional plastic. Here is a look at the differences between CPLA and PLA.
PLA Cutlery (POLYLACTIC ACID)
What is PLA?
PLA is a compostable bioplastic which is created from plant sugars. PLA is an abbreviation of polylactic acid which is made from sugars such as corn starch, sugar cane or sugar beet. Industrial corn is the primary source crop at the moment which is grown using sustainable farming practices such as:
Limiting the excessive use of pesticides and water
- Not sourcing from land with high biodiversity or high carbon areas.
- Avoiding agressive agricultural processes.
- Managing greenhouse gas emissions on the farm.
- Adhering to strict labour laws.
- Protecting the natural eco-system surrounding farmland.
PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a synthetic alternative to traditional plastics. Unlike traditional plastic, PLA is made from starch derived from renewable resources like sugarcane. Although it is produced in a lab, PLA is significantly better for the environment than traditional plastic. It is biodegradable, which means that it will naturally break down over time when you dispose of it. It does not contain harmful chemicals that will leach into the soil as it breaks down, preventing long-term damage to plants and animals.
PLA Cutlery is also compostable so that it can be used to create compost for enriching soil. While it is not recyclable, it can be disposed of in a way that still makes it useful. Since it is made out of natural sugarcane starch, PLA Cutlery can impart nutrients to the soil, making it a viable component in growing food for the foodservice industry.
CPLA Cutlery (CRYSTALIZED POLYLACTIC ACID)
What is CPLA?
Crystallized Polylactic Acid, more commonly referred to as CPLA, is a crystallized version of PLA. Crystallizing PLA gives its fibers a much stronger structure. Because of this, CPLA is just a stronger version of PLA. It is used in applications where a less flexible material is needed, such as trays and large cutlery.
Although it is crystallized, CPLA Cutlery has the same environmentally friendly properties as PLA Cutlery. It is biodegradable and will break down when disposed of without hurting the environment. Home gardeners can also use it as composting material to enrich their compost and improve their gardens.
WHICH ONE TO USE?
Choosing between CPLA Cutlery and PLA Cutlery depends on the size and strength of the restaurant supplies you need. In most cases, PLA will be strong enough for your purposes.
But In situations where you need larger restaurant supplies with a more rigid structure, CPLA is the better choice. This includes large utensils, such as tablespoons or serving spoons. In many cases, both options are used to make lids for eco-friendly food containers.