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RENEWABLE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY POLYLACTIDE (PLA)

V. Ryan 2011

 

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Polymers / plastics have a reputation of being environmentally unfriendly. They take years and in some cases centuries to decay. However, plastic bags made from Polylactide (PLA) take only five years to decompose. Containers such as drinking bottles and food containers manufactured from PLA, take slightly longer to decay, as they are manufactured from thinker material.

Polylactide is referred to as a ‘bioplastic’ because of its environmentally friendly nature.

 
 
 
Polylactide (PLA), is a renewable thermoplastic and a polymer. It is ‘processed’ from the starch of plants such as corn, sugar cane and sugar beet, making it environmentally friendly and sustainable. Fermentation of the sugars from these plants produces lactic acid and after further reactions, lactide forms. After more processing and polymerisation, polylactide resin is produced. The resulting resin can be injection and blow moulded, to form disposable products including those shown below.

Polylactide is biodegradable, as it decays as a result of exposure to the ultra violet rays of sunlight and oxygen. It decomposes forming carbon dioxide and water, which present no danger to the environment.
 
 
 
 
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