PLA Plates Alternative: Any Other Better Options?

by iupilon
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To address the waste disposal issue of single-use packaging and the dependence on materials derived from finite fossil resources, PLA (Polylactic acid) has been developed. PLA is a polyester made from fermented plant starches such as corn, cassava, sugarcane, or sugar beet pulp, rather than petroleum-based feedstocks. Manufacturers are already looking into using non-agricultural feedstocks, even though it isn’t a direct threat to food production. In addition, PLA bioplastics offer significant environmental advantages over petroleum-based plastics.

There are two possible monomers or building blocks for PLA: lactic acid and lactide. PLA is a polyester (polymer containing an ester group). A carbohydrate source can be fermented to produce lactic acid under controlled conditions. Carbohydrates such as corn starch, cassava roots, or sugarcane can make lactic acid at an industrial scale, making the process both sustainable and renewable.

The search for even more eco-friendly and less expensive ways to make PLA continues. Carbohydrate sources other than agricultural produce can be found in crop residues like stems, husks, and leaves. Heat can be generated from residue that cannot be fermented, reducing dependence on hydrocarbons.

What Is PLA Plate Made Of?

PLA is a biodegradable and recyclable polyester made from renewable feedstock, which is also biodegradable. The raw material for lactic acid is glucose or sucrose, fermented and refined to high purity.

In recent years, PLA has been used for food packaging, textiles, and engineering plastics. PLA is currently a niche product, but it has a lot of room for growth. A variety of methods are used to create PLA. These include (1) direct condensation polymerization, (2) azeotropic condensation, and (3) polymerization by lactides. Lactide production currently relies heavily on direct condensation and ROP.

Because of its mechanical and physical properties, PLA is widely used in packaging applications, which are comparable and, in some cases, superior to petroleum-based polymers. Compared to PETs, the mechanical properties of PLA films and packages are similar to, if not superior to, PS. Compostable PLA food packaging applications currently include straws, cutlery, deli containers, and various other items.

Is PLA Environmentally Friendly?

From corn starch, polylactic acid (PLA) is derived. Compostable and made from renewable resources, this product is excellent for the environment. Due to its unique origins, PLA stands out as a material that isn’t petroleum-based. Unlike conventional plastics made from petroleum, PLA is made from corn-based resins, making it non-toxic and replenishable on an annual basis. As PLA is derived from a renewable resource (corn), PLA is a very green material. PLA products decompose in 3-6 months in a composting system, whereas plastics can take up to a thousand years to decompose.

PLA products can withstand temperatures as high as 110°F(43.33°C). As a result, PLA products are ideal for storing cold items. PLA can be frozen but do not attempt to microwave PLA products as they are not microwave-safe.

Does PLA Biodegrade in The Ocean?

PLA does not biodegrade in the ocean as the ocean does not provide the right environment for the breakdown of the material.

PET, the nearly indestructible plastic used to make most containers and bottles, will come in handy if you drop a ketchup bottle on the floor. However, if you decide to dispose of the same bottle in a landfill, you might reconsider. Why? Because PET, a petroleum-based plastic, does not decompose in the same way as organic material… Burial causes a process known as “biodegradation” in wood, grass, and food scraps. This is a fancy way of saying that bacteria in the soil transform these waste materials into other valuable compounds. In contrast, bacteria abhor plastic. So if you put some plastic bags and bottles on their dinner plates, the one-celled gluttons will refuse to eat.

Biodegradable plastics offer an answer to this environmental catastrophe. Plant-based hydro-biodegradable plastic and petroleum-based oxo-biodegradable plastic are the two most commonly available types of biodegradable plastic on the market today. Plastic made from corn, polylactic acid (PLA), is the most widely discussed alternative in the first category. Four times as fast as a floating PET bag, PLA decomposes into water and carbon dioxide in 47 to 90 days. These results can only be achieved if the conditions are just right. At high temperatures, PLA decomposes most effectively in commercial composting facilities. A plastic bag made from corn can last if a plastic bag is made from oil or natural gas when buried in a landfill.

PLA biodegrades in just twelve weeks when composted commercially, making it a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastics. However, it can take hundreds of years to decompose and produce microscopic plastic particles.

Additionally, PLA’s production is less harmful to the environment than traditional plastics derived from depleting fossil fuels. PLA’s carbon emissions are 80% lower than those of conventional plastics, according to research (source).

Thermal depolymerization or hydrolysis can return PLA to its original monomer, allowing it to be recycled. After the monomer solution is purified, polylactic acid (PLA) production can proceed as usual.

Because there are currently no end markets for recycled PLA, it hasn’t been possible to scale up PLA recycling infrastructure.

For now, we recommend composting foodservice packaging rather than recycling it because it’s often contaminated with food waste, which makes recycling impractical. Although PLA has many benefits, there are some drawbacks as well. For example, although bioplastics made up just 0.016 percent of land use in 2019, they are expected to make up just 0.021 percent in 2024, which is still a tiny amount of land use (source). PLA plastic packaging can also be more expensive than conventional plastic packaging because of the number of steps involved in the production process. But as PLA becomes more widely available, economies of scale take effect, lowering the price.

PLA Alternatives – ECO SOUL Palm Leaf Plates

ECO SOUL Palm Leaf Plates are square and smooth, and look at every part of the classic bamboo plates that came years before palm leaf plates became popular. The manufacturer emphasizes that ECO SOUL plates are light as cardboard but very hard-wearing and durable – perfect for regular use. These are dependable plates that you can use for different occasions, not just picnics or infrequent get-togethers. ECO SOUL Palm Leaf Plates are undoubtedly top-notch, and they cannot be deformed by heat and by simply using them. They are oven-safe up to 340°F(171°C) and easily resist bending and sagging when exposed to higher temperatures.

  • Pros
    One of the main motivations of customers buying ECO SOUL plates is that they wanted sturdy plates but didn’t want to end up with a lot of dishwashing after family events. So buying a lot of palm leaf plates wasn’t harming the environment, which would mean that they’re getting the convenience minus the problem of adding more plastic to landfills.
    These plates are designed so that even the elderly can hold them up sturdily while eating. Customer feedback shows that ECO SOUL plates are great for the elderly because they can hold them firmly and eat with no issues. This might be something you’d like to consider if you are expecting senior or elderly guests. Lighter plates that are easy to hold will make your event more enjoyable for everyone. And if your palm leaf plates are great for the elderly, they would also be easier to maintain for children.
  • Cons
    Some customers complained of receiving less than stellar sets – these are normal for this type of product, and if should you get a similarly complex plate set, you should ask for a replacement.
    Some customers say that the sides of the plates are not high enough for their liking. If you plan to add a lot of food to the plates, the best approach would be to buy a bowl instead of plates to be safe. Other than that, the height of the sides shouldn’t be much of an issue for regular use.
  • Verdict
    The way we see it, ECO SOUL Palm Leaf Plates are popular with different crowds simply because they work. They are durable and lightweight, with the added benefit of being ergonomic. Customer feedback indicates that the elderly can easily hold these plates with food loaded. Since these are all-natural palm leaf plates, they won’t all look alike in terms of color. Some plates will be darker, and some will be lighter. However, if you are aiming for that natural look on your dinner table, picnic, or any other occasion, then the changing hues of the plates will undoubtedly be a minor issue.
    These plates are compostable, which would explain their price point, completely understandable since more manufacturers are still producing cheap plastic that harms the environment.
    These are designer-looking plates that won’t get soggy no matter what kind of food you place on them. A good, solid choice for home cooks who are venturing out to palm leaf plates for the first time.

 

PLA Alternatives – Chic Leaf Palm Leaf Plates

Nothing saves the environment quite like compostable dinnerware. Chic Leaf Palm Leaf Plates are a great alternative to plastic plates, and each party pack comes with 48 pieces of scales, available in two sizes.

Go for the larger, ten-inch plates if you’re expecting more oversized food items on the buffet table. The smaller, seven-inch plates are great for regular eat-outs with friends and family. These plates are manufactured from the Areca palm leaf and are designed to withstand heavy use. According to the manufacturer, they have a very sustainable way of harvesting the leaves. They mainly use leaves that have already fallen to the ground for manufacturing these palm leaf plates.

The manufacturer states that they’re pretty much like bamboo plates, but they’re lighter and sturdier. The comparison is an important feature – bamboo plates are very sturdy, and if Chic Leaf Palm Leaf Plates reach that level of sturdiness, then you have a winner on your hands (or table).

  • Pros
    The Chic Leaf Palm Plates users are generally ecstatic with the quality of the disposable plates they receive. However, fans of compostable plates know that there will be some inconsistencies with how these plates are presented after manufacturing because they are crafted from leaves. Like the issue in the previous product, customers say that the colorations of the containers vary, with some plates being darker or lighter. But, again, the inconsistency in the colorations means that the manufacturer held to his word that this is entirely organic dinnerware, and you are going to get what mother nature created naturally from the ground.
  • Cons
    Do not expose these compostable plates to prolonged moisture and humidity as these can cause the plant fiber in the leaves to soak in water. Unfortunately, this is a common problem for many plant-based or wood-based dinnerware – they do not lend well to moisture. While they will resist moisture as you use them, horrible storage conditions will eventually get to them.
    What can you expect when using compostable plates that have been exposed to moisture? They will be bendy, and you won’t use all the dishes. Note that depending on where you buy these plates, some sets will arrive in pretty good conditions while others will not. It’s entirely up to you if you choose such dishes for more significant events as there might be a risk of not being able to use all your plates if they have not been stored properly.
  • Verdict
    We have seen enough reviews from happy customers to say that this brand is a good choice confidently. An exciting facet of palm leaf plates is they sometimes ‘look dirty because of the striations or lines from the plant fiber. Many first-timers don’t know that these colorations are natural and are not dirt in the way we know ground to be. So if you are diving into the eco-warrior movement and would like to do away with disposable plastic anything in your home, this would be a great place to start.

 

PLA Alternatives – Kijani Palm Leaf Plates

Kijani Palm Leaf Plates certainly give home cooks a more premium look and feel, which might be what more customers are looking for, especially if they are hosting an event at home. According to the manufacturer, these plates are completely chemical-free, and no trees have been cut to make them. But, of course, we all love trees, and we certainly love containers that didn’t require forests to be made—a good choice for anyone supporting the eco-friendly movement.

Biodegradable plates have a relaxed, one-of-a-kind style. Weddings, special events, barbeques, picnics, parties, and camping trips are all great opportunities to use this high-quality dinnerware. Buy these plates for your next event and help the environment simultaneously. Eco-friendly containers that are completely biodegradable, compostable, and chemical-free. Because they are made from naturally fallen areca palm leaves, these plates are a sustainable alternative to bamboo and paper plates. Strict quality control and leaf cleaning procedures ensure the safest and cleanest possible product. All of our leaves are steam-treated without the use of any chemical additives, dyes, glue, or wax. As a result, the product is entirely natural.

  • Pros
    Fans of the Kijani Palm Leaf Plates generally agree that Kijani plates are among the best in the market. They confidently present these plates even to executive dinners and get-togethers. This type of feedback is not something we often see in other products, which means that the premium looks and feel that the manufacturer invested in has been paying off.
    Customers also loved the fact that they had a lot of choices when it came to the sizes of the plates, so if you are planning to create an entire setup where you are using all compostable or eco-friendly dinnerware, this brand seems to be the better choice. However, you have to work fast because some of the more popular sizes are not available. In addition, you have to plan for a complete collection of compostable plates in the correct quantity.
  • Cons
    Based on customer feedback, it appears that some sets of Kijani Palm Leaf Plates are shipped to customers in less than stellar appearance. For example, some plates may look like they have dark streaks, and the colors may be less than appetizing for someone who wants to eat something that looks robust and bright.
    Customers should err on the side of caution and purchase more plates to make sure that they can pick out the ones with better colors if the customer is serving a crowd in either a personal or commercial setting.
  • Verdict
    Kijani Palm Leaf Plates are perhaps the ultimate brand of compostable plates when you are serving more discerning crowds. The ten-inch plates are excellent for handling more oversized food items and the heavier entrees as well, so these plates are appropriate for steaks and similar entrees. Furthermore, customers praise the color quality of dishes, compared to other brands where the color inconsistency is often a significant issue. Overall, Kijani Palm Leaf Plates pass our test for quality and consistency, and we can’t wait for you guys to try them at home.

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