• http://www.thepapercupcompany.co.uk/content_environment.php Mark Woodward

    I agree with Becky we need to question all the time what we are doing, I think the big danger with PLA as a material is that end users think that if they use a compostable product, they can put it in the bin with all there other waste, and it will turn into soil when it goes to landfill, which we know will not happen.
    We need to be persuading people not to put material in the waste bin, but to recycle.
    Persuading people to bring there own cup is a challenge, but would love to see a message on the side of a paper cup, selling the concept of bringing your own mug next time.

  • http://reusing.blogspot.com Terra


    What makes them “better than styrofoam” in your opinion? From what I’ve seen, if something is ending up in the landfill, it’s 6 of one, half-dozen of the other. I agree wholeheartedly with you and Mark, though when you (repeatedly*) say that the best choice is to carry reusable products and not have to accept “disposable” items in the first place.

    I would also caution you against making the blanket statement of composting them commercially. Not every municipality takes every product with a claim of biodegradability or compostability. It’s *always* best to check with your specific area first. (For instance: Portland, OR just added organics, but they don’t accept *any* compostable plastics except the can liners.)

    *Good for you! We can’t stress durables over disposables enough, in my opinion.

  • http://haltonrecycles.wordpress.com/ Walter Scattolon


    In Halton Region, Ontario, these cups would likely break down in the industrial sized organic composting that our GreenCart waste at.

    But, your idea to avoid using disposable cups in the first place makes the most sense!

    Please visit our blog and website for more information on how Halton Region is managing its 3Rs with Blue Box and GreenCart programs… keeping recyclables out of our landfill.


    Take care.

  • Priya

    Really! Is it fully compostable? It is new thing I heard
    about paper cups lined with corn plastic. Does it affect from hot beverage?

  • Em

    Hey, from your article, I think there are a couple things you should look further into:

    A) PLA lined cups are backyard compostable, but Natureworks can’t assert that because it will takes longer than the average person would expect AND requires temperatures that many backyard composts won’t reach because let’s face it, most people are not maintaining a serious compost pile! (60C for at least 14 days for the PLA to hydrolyze)

    B) Natureworks actually has a GMO offsetting program for their corn supplies with 3 different levels; it’s hard and thus expensive to separate the GMO and original corn streams, so they have different levels according to what their customers can afford.

    C) I don’t think you’ve noticed that NOTHING biodegrades in a landfill. Even organic waste (food waste, lumber, etc) has trouble biodegrading in a landfill! – everyone should be educated about what actually happens in landfills as far as biodegradation goes.

    D) recycling technology is now available that can recycle PLA or regular plastic-lined cups BUT! only 80% of the paper pulp is recovered and the remaining liner & pulp is landfilled in both cases AND this technology is few and far between, though growing.

    And of course, well put that reusable is still the way to go! I do think though, that as composting facilities get better development, that as long as there is a demand for disposable cups, PLA lined compostable cups are better than any typical plastic cup. (ESPECIALLY because the source material is renewable!)