Materials > Films

PLA Film

Compostable plastic made from renewable biomass and a synthetic binding agent.
Also known as
Polylactic Acid, Polylactide

What is PLA Film?

Compostable plastic is primarily derived from renewable resources (corn) rather than petroleum, so if you’re shipping in standard poly mailers made from LDPE and you want a compostable option, compostable poly mailers are a step in the right direction.

Cornstarch PLA is not completely plastic-free, as it includes PBAT, a fossil fuel derivative, as a binding agent for more flexibility. Although derived from fossil fuels, PBAT is still compostable.

If proper disposal is a priority, paper mailers are the best choice because most cities accept paper in their curbside recycling programs, while composting facilities are not widely accessible. Read the common FAQs on compostable plastic here.

Why choose it?

Why not choose it?

  • Not completely plastic-free (contains petroleum-based additive PBAT for flexibility)

  • Shelf life is short, approximately 9 months if stored in a cool, dark, and dry place.

  • Recycled content not possible

  • Requires adequate messaging for proper disposal

  • Composting can only happen in an environment with enough oxygen, moisture, and heat. If compostable plastic ends up in a landfill, it won’t have the oxygen necessary to break down.

  • Many consumers do not have access to industrial composting

  • Some composting facilities will not accept these materials, as they can slow down their composting cycles

  • It cannot be recycled, but because it looks and feels like traditional plastic, it often ends up recycled with plastic. This contaminates and slows down the recycling stream.

Examples of items that use PLA Film