6th June 2023
What is the difference between PLA and Aqueous coated cups?
PLA (Polylactic Acid) and aqueous coated cups are two different types of coatings used on disposable cups, each with its own characteristics and environmental considerations.
- PLA Coated Cups: PLA is a biodegradable and compostable polymer derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugarcane. PLA coated cups are made from a base material (typically paper) coated with a thin layer of PLA to provide a moisture barrier. Here are some key points about PLA coated cups:
- Environmental Impact: PLA is considered more environmentally friendly compared to traditional plastic coatings. It is derived from renewable resources and can break down into natural elements under specific composting conditions.
- Biodegradability: PLA coated cups have the potential to biodegrade under industrial composting facilities. However, they may not readily break down in home composting or landfill conditions.
- Performance: PLA coated cups provide a limited moisture barrier but may not perform as well as traditional plastic coatings in terms of heat resistance and liquid retention.
- Recycling: The presence of PLA coating can complicate the recycling process for cups. It is important to separate PLA coated cups from conventional paper recycling streams.
- Aqueous Coated Cups: Aqueous coating is a water-based coating applied to paper cups to enhance their performance and durability. Here are some key points about aqueous coated cups:
- Environmental Impact: Aqueous coatings are generally considered more environmentally friendly than traditional plastic coatings. They are water-based and contain fewer harmful chemicals.
- Biodegradability: Aqueous coatings may not be biodegradable in the same way as PLA. However, the environmental impact is generally lower compared to traditional plastic coatings.
- Performance: Aqueous coated cups offer improved moisture resistance and durability compared to uncoated cups. They can provide a better barrier against leaks and spills.
- Recycling: Aqueous coated cups can be recycled with conventional paper recycling streams, as long as the coating doesn’t interfere with the recycling process. It is important to check with local recycling facilities for specific guidelines.
When choosing between PLA coated cups and aqueous coated cups, it is important to consider the specific environmental goals and waste management infrastructure in your region. Both options have their merits in terms of reducing plastic waste and environmental impact.