Friday, March 30, 2012

Why Use Plant Based Plastics?

If you checked out our poll, you probably guessed that RSVP does not belong, and that is because it is not an alternative to plastic.

Peggy Denny, at the University of Guam, explains the difference between a few types of plant-based biodegradable materials.

"Corn-type plastics are made from processing harvested corn into starch, and this is then turned into sugar. The sugar is then converted into polylactic acid (PLA), which is then blended with different starches and shaped to create food containers and cups. Using PLA in corn-based plastics conserves energy by using about half the resources that are generally used to produce plastics. Items made of PLA can tolerate temperatures up to 120 degrees, generally cannot be microwaved, but are freezer safe. 
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Similar to PLA, potato starch is a type of PSM or plant starch material. PSM is synthesized from a variety of starches and this process increases the heat-resistant properties of this product. PSM tolerates temperatures up to about 200 degrees, some types are microwavable, and it is freezer safe.

Bagasse products are made from salvaged sugarcane pulp, which is converted to a paper-like substance. Using this end product of sugarcane processing eliminates the burning of the stalks, which contributes to air pollution and greenhouse gases.
Bagasse disposables tolerate temperatures up to 200 degrees, can typically be microwaved, and are freezer safe. "

Read her full article here. Got questions about Biodegradable materials? We will try to find the answers.

(Don't ask me how I know this, but if you reuse these containers, don't pour hot soup into one, unless you want to watch it shrink like the wicked witch of the west.)

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