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PLA and PET: Friendly Co-Existence or Resin War?

SpecialChem / Jan 11, 2007

Environmental concerns have steadily risen to the top of people's minds over the last two years. Now with Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" out in video stores and the United Nations Panel on Climate Change confirming many of their fears consumers feel the urgent need to 'do something' to help the planet. Buying bottles that degrade instead of wracking havoc in landfill sites may seem like a contribution to that goal, however small. The Coca-Cola Company as well as Wal-Mart have expressed their interest in the material and it will only be a matter of time before we see some of the national brands in water or some other non-carbonated content in PLA at a shelf near you. PLA can be derived from a variety of sources but all PLA in the US is made from corn. As such, it is a renewable resource, which is one of three main selling points. The other two are that it is compostable and produces lower carbon emissions. All seem attractable enough and in the current political climate a no-brainer seems to be at hand. Scrutinizing these claims reveals a somewhat muddier picture.

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