Over the years, PLA packaging has become increasingly popular, with its global market share projected to reach $6.9 by 2031. That’s according to this report by Markets and Markets. PLA packaging offers several benefits, chief among them being safety and eco-friendliness. Below, we explain what is PLA packaging is, the benefits if offers over other plastics, and its examples.
What is PLA Packaging?
PLA packaging is defined as packaging that’s made from a type of plastic commonly called polylactic acid, or PLA in short. This type of packaging uses a biodegradable and bio-compostable type polymer, which means an eco-friendly way to package products when compared to traditional plastic: let’s see what that means:
PLA Packaging Material
PLA packaging material is basically polylactic acid. This is plastic that’s been made using biomass, which makes it a renewable material, in addition to being bio-compostable. The raw materials include cornstarch sugarcane, and other plant-based materials.
During the manufacture of polylactic acid, these materials are first converted into lactic acid. The lactic acid is then, using the polymerization process, changed to PLA resin, a type of clear polymer that’s quickly replacing conventional plastics.
Is PLA Plastic Safe?
PLA or polylactic plastic is generally considered to be a safe material. This explains its use in, not only the making of packaging products, but also other areas that include medical applications. PLA plastic also eventually breaks down and can be recycled or composted in controlled conditions.
In fact, PLA plastic is one of the bioplastics materials that have been approved by the US-based FDA among other organizations and agencies around the world. That makes it suitable for applications that involve the plastic coming into contact with food.
PLA in Packaging
The use of PLA in packaging is almost limitless. You can use it to virtually hold anything, especially in applications where human health is paramount and safe or biodegradable types of plastic a necessity. These include food packaging and the packaging containers of cosmetic products or pharmaceuticals.
PLA Food Packaging
One of the most popular uses of PLA in packaging is the manufacture of food holding containers. These include the following; bottles, jars, trays, and clamshells. PLA food packaging products are safe to use, and easy to break down at the end of their useful life.
PLA Cosmetic Packaging
In the cosmetic industry, PLA plastic is used to produce cosmetic containers such as bottles, jars, and tubes for beauty and personal care products. PLA cosmetic packaging, in addition to being safe to use with beauty products, provides for containers that will not harm the environment.
PLA Packaging Examples
PLA packaging is widely available and in different form to suit the many different uses and application requirements today. Here, we’ve listed and described some of the most common types of these packaging containers, and why their use offers more benefits when compared to the traditional petroleum plastic. The PLA packaging examples are.
PLA trays are an eco-friendly and safe option for packaging a variety of products by both retailers and consumers. These can clear or opaque trays to hold meat, baked products, and anything that can be held in a tray. In addition, these PLA packaging containers can be made in custom designs to fit usage needs.
These are mostly single use cups for use at events, or even in hotels and other eating points. They can be cups with lids or without, and in any size depending on the required function. Just like any other type of PLA packaging, these provide a sustainable and eco-friendly way of packaging food.
This is one of the most common PLA packaging examples today. PLA bottles are usable in many different sectors, but most often the beverage industry where they are used to store drinks. They are a popular (and safer) alternative to many other plastics, both in terms of human health and that if the environment.
PLA Deli Containers
PLA deli containers find useful application in places where takeaways foods are offered. They provide a sustainable material to package these foods, especially when it comes to single use packaging. Being biodegradable, this type of packaging is safer to the environment than most plastic being used today, plus it’s safe to use with foods and compostable after use.
PLA Clamshell Containers
Clamshells are popular packaging products today. Their many different uses range from the packaging of fresh fruits and vegetables to many other products. PLA clamshells containers, like any of the other examples of PLA packaging mentioned earlier, offer these benefits: eco-friendliness, health safety, and biodegradability.
PLA Plastic Bags
These are bags that are entirely made using PLA plastic. PLA plastic bags can be any type, including the most popular T-shirt bags used by retail stores for groceries and other items. This type of PLA packaging material will naturally break down over time, depending on its chemical structure, making it a better alternative in the retail and other sectors.
PLA Film for Food
This is a thin type of film that’s popularly used to wrap foods, especially fresh meats, fruit, vegetables, and anything that requires protection from the outside environment. Using PLA film for food packaging provides consumers with an affordable and safe material to keep their foods protected while also helping to keep them fresh for longer.
PLA packaging is a worthy alternative to the traditional petroleum based plastic. It provides a sustainable packaging solution, providing a viable option for companies that are keen on reducing their carbon footprint. That’s in addition to the other benefits that it offers to the end user of the packaging. In summary, PLA packaging offers both business and consumers a greener choice.