Plastic Ingenuity’s commitment to green technologies and environmental responsibility has led it to develop a proprietary process for increasing the heat tolerance of polylactic acid (PLA) material.
By modifying PLA materials, PI can significantly increase both the usefulness and the possible applications for this biodegradable material and reduce our dependence on petroleum-based plastics solutions.
What is PLA?
Polylactic acid is derived from plants, a renewable resource, and it is used as a natural substitute for petroleum-based plastics and polyester products.
In the proper environment, PLA materials degrade naturally over time, making these products an environmentally responsible and practical choice for a number of applications, including medical and packaging requirements. PLA warps and degrades more quickly when exposed to excessive heat or humidity, which presents significant obstacles to using PLA in certain applications.
When pure PLA is exposed to excessive heat or moisture or as a natural process over time, the polymer chains that make up the substance begin to break down.
This creates ever smaller polymer chains. The result of this process is lactic acid, which is a naturally occurring nutrient that is also found in milk. Lactic acid is completely biodegradable, and it poses no threat to local wildlife or water supplies. As lactic acid breaks down in the environment, it produces carbon dioxide, water, and stable organic matter used to form humus and topsoil.
Before Plastic Ingenuity developed their proprietary process, the utility of PLA in packaging was limited due to the storage and transportation process.
Because PLA can warp and distort at a relatively low temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit and at 50% humidity levels, transportation of these materials could often result in significant damage to the product. Improper fit and warping limited the use of PLA to noncritical, disposable products, like napkins and paper plates, that had few manufacturing or packaging uses.
Our Proprietary Process
Plastic Ingenuity engineers have designed a new process for PLA packaging materials.
This process increases its heat tolerance significantly, allowing its use in a much wider range of environmental conditions. Plastic Ingenuity’s process creates PLA that demonstrates superior heat resistance—offering equivalent heat resistance to HIPS materials.
Because it biodegrades naturally over time into a harmless, nontoxic substance, PLA is used in a wide variety of medical applications, including in sutures and stents.
PLA shows promise in pharmaceutical delivery systems as well. It is often used in disposable garments, trays, and as filler in upholstery, pillows, and diapers due to its environmentally friendly chemical profile. Plastic Ingenuity’s proprietary method for increasing the heat tolerance of PLA packaging has expanded the potential uses to include a number of hot food and beverage containers and packaging applications.
Plastic Ingenuity continues to research new methods and new processes to make our packaging even more environmentally friendly. The need to protect our environment against unnecessary pollution and to use sustainable resources to fulfill our needs has never been greater. Plastic Ingenuity is an industry leader in researching and implementing green technologies into their design and manufacturing process and in using environmentally safe materials to construct their products.