Why is plastic used as a coating on paper cups?
A paper cup needs to be waterproof, obviously, or it wouldn’t handle what’s poured into it! The first paper cups were made waterproof using a thin coating of clay, but as you can imagine, this made the drink taste pretty nasty! Wax was also used for a while, then somebody invented PE. PE was a magic solution because it made the cups strong and waterproof, and it had no impact on the taste.
Q:How did PLA come about?
PLA was invented way back in the 1920s, but at the time it was too costly to use commercially. Then in 1989, someone discovered that PLA could be made from corn starch. This was a big deal because it meant there was now an environmentally-friendly bioplastic that was both affordable and cost-efficient.
Q:So, does PLA work as well as PE?
That’s a question we get asked a lot! PLA has improved markedly since it was first invented. Because it’s made from plant-based material rather than plastic, people are sometimes unsure whether PLA is as strong and heat-resistant as PE. The answer is yes, it is – PLA is capable of handling everything that PE can handle. At the moment, the demand for PE is still greater than PLA, but we believe that’s because people aren’t fully aware of the benefits of PLA yet.