Home » News » Spotlight: LOOPLA

Spotlight: LOOPLA

by Green Plastics

 

When you compost your PLA plastic products, you are working to create a closed “cradle to cradle” loop for the material:

  1. Corn, processed to make…
  2. Lactic Acid, polymerized to make…
  3. PLA, which is used to create
  4. PLA Products, which are
  5. Used, and then
  6. Disposed of, when it is
  7. Composted, returning to the soil to grow more
  8. Corn…. go to #1

This is a pretty long loop (and also inefficient, from an energy perspective).

One way to shorten this loop would be to recycle, as we do with regular plastics:

  1. Corn, processed to make…
  2. Lactic Acid, polymerized to make…
  3. PLA, which is used to create
  4. PLA Products, which are
  5. Used, and then
  6. Recycled, where it is
  7. Mashed up into PLA… go to #3

This is “mechanical recycling”. The problem with this is, PLA doesn’t recycle as nicely or easily as regular plastic. There are difficulties with getting a nice-looking, pure product.

So what can we do? LOOPLA (by Galactic) has a possible answer: chemical recycling.

The LOOPLA process can provide a major short-cut that increases the efficiency of the cradle-to-cradle PLA loop:

  1. Corn, processed to make…
  2. Lactic Acid, polymerized to make…
  3. PLA, which is used to create
  4. PLA Products, which are
  5. Used, and then
  6. Sent to a LOOPLA plant, where it is
  7. Broken down into Lactic Acid, go to #2

Although this process is still cutting-edge and in its experimental and testing phase, it promises to provide a real answer: it promises to be cost efficient, and provides a mechanism that will allow us to keep re-cycling the same feedstock around and around… each time producing PLA products that are exactly the same quality as products made from virgin PLA.


Leave a Reply