Origin / production of PLA
A sustainable option?
Polylactic acid (PLA) is mainly produced from sugar in corn starch and is thus produced from a renewable source contrary to petro-based plastics such as ABS. PLA can also be made from other plants rich in starch such as beets, sugar cane and potatoes. The economy of growing corn in the United States, due to the country's generous corn subsidies, makes it so favorable that the majority of all PLA is produced from corn starch from the United States. The corn grown for industrial purposes is called field corn and is different from sweet corn used for livestock feed and foodstuffs. Currently, about 40% of the agricultural land is used for production of feed to livestock. Thus, if demand for bioplastics increase, field corn will compete for land that is today used to grow food and livestock feed.