Our idea is to develop a compostable translucent PLA-based foam cold cup for iced coffee type of applications. This idea solves two problems of the currently available solution:
1. The current PET based solution can lead to condensation on the outside of the cup, due to the difference in temperature between the cold inside of the cup and the warm outside of the cup. The translucent foamed cup provides an excellent insulation barrier and prevents the condensation of water on the outside of the cup. Furthermore the outside of the cup will not become as cold as the current solution which is an advantage for the customers.
2. There is no end-of-life solution for the current PET based cups, as these are very contaminated with residuals of food waste. This renders the recycling process very difficult. A compostable solution does provide a suitable end-of-life option in which the cup including the residual food waste can be collected for organic recycling and industrially composted.
Furthermore, because of the use of continuous foaming for this process a known disadvantage of the traditional bead foaming process of leakage is prevented.
The idea is focused on the cup itself, but can be extended to develop a compostable lid and straw so that the full cup is compostable.
PLA is produced from renewable raw materials and is 100% biobased. Our PLA is produced from sugar from Thai sugarcane. Sustainable sourcing of raw materials is at the core of our business. Our vision and approach can be found in the whitepaper on sustainable sourcing of feedstocks for bioplastics (https://www.total-corbion.com/media/1082/170822_totalcorbionpla_whitepaper_12-web.pdf).
PLA is a polymer that is approved for food contact applications throughout the world. We as Total Corbion PLA have all the required certifications and documentation that demonstrate compliance with the most important regulations, including food contact, REACH, chemical compliance and dangerous chemicals listings.