Poly Lactic Acid
Written by Brenda Ng M.Sc For Apple Park
Apple Park’s mission is creating high quality toys and apparels with organic and sustainable materials. We’re proud of every product we make, and every step of manufacture, as we care for the health of our planet. Apple Park and our mindful consumers around the globe are aware that the choices and purchases we make every day greatly impact the health and sustainability of the environment. This includes the air, the water and the soil that our children and grandchildren will be breathing, drinking and farming respectively.
“More than 8 million tons of plastic waste are dumped into the ocean annually – National Environmental Treasure”
Choose Renewable Fabrics To Save Our Planet
Many conventional toys and apparels are made from plastics derived from petroleum or crude oil. This emit hazardous substances and greenhouse gases into the environment. Petroleum-based plastics are finite, and the toxic waste they generate often enters our food chain.
Apple Park cares and uses only natural and non-harmful materials during our manufacturing process.
One type of renewable fabric that Apple Park proudly uses is Poly Lactic Acid Fiber (PLA). We often use it to fill our toys as an eco-friendly alternative to polyester. Unlike conventional petroleum plastics, PLA is made from fermentable sugar derived from vegetable starch. This includes vegetable matter from sugarcane, tapioca root, cassava, sugar beets and corn. Most PLA is made from corn. This is one of the world’s most available crops and thus is the most cost effective raw material we can use. PLA is not only biodegradable and agriculturally renewable, but it is also environmentally friendly. PLA is also known as “Bioplastic”. It requires 65% less energy to produce than petroleum-based plastics. It degrades naturally. It doesn’t generate toxic waste during its production or when it ultimately degrades.
How Is PLA Manufactured?
The production of PLA involves several steps:
Corn starch is converted into sugar via wet milling. This process extracts the natural starch from corn kernels or corn husks. Acid, enzymes and heat are then introduced, converting the starch into dextrose, a form of sugar.
This sugar is then fermented by the action of Lactobacillus bacteria to create lactic acid. The acid is subsequently converted into Lactide, a strong and sturdy ring-form of lactic acid. These lactide molecules bond together to create lactide polymers. It’s this polymerization process that creates the raw material of Poly Lactic Acid (PLA).
The Degradation Process Of PLA
PLA is malleable and versatile. This makes it a desirable raw material for manufacturing a variety of toys and apparels. PLA offers a stable shelf life without disintegrating yet naturally degrades when placed in landfill. This bioplastic breaks down into a range of natural substances including water, carbon dioxide and compost.
Microbial action in the natural environment drive this degradation process whenever the temperature and humidity naturally reach optimal levels. This means PLA remains very stable until it becomes landfill.
AP Supports Organic And Sustainable Living – Our Action Plan
Apple Park is proud of its pioneering role in the manufacturing of high-quality toys and apparels with safe, non-toxic and renewable materials. We’re proactively working with communities and mindful consumers to create a better world and achieve healthy living goals. We’re constantly striving to create and maintain a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for generations to come.
We appreciate every consumer who supports our philosophy by purchasing our products. This includes products containing PLA. We stand behind this eco-friendly material and will gladly replace any product if its PLA content ever degrades.
If the PLA in your Apple Park product appears to be degrading please contact us and we’ll happily send you a replacement of the same or similar product.
“Safe for children, better for the environment and always beautifully green” has been our motto at Apple Park. Together with Apple Park, you can play a part in creating a better world for our generations to come by being green too!