Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Why isn’t it cool to use PLA “compostable” bottles?

Polylactic Acid is made by Nature Works, a Cargill subsidiary that patented this corn-based plastic. All PLA raw material comes from the US, where a lot of the corn is genetically modified and no separation of GM and non-GM crops is required in the PLA manufacturing. Even though in tests the GM DNA can’t be recognised in the actual plastic, GM crops are still being planted, harvested and processed into this new material. Also, Cargill are very big in lobbying for GM acceptance in the world and have a long history of animal testing.
Because GM food has been widely regarded by the consumer as unfit, the big players in the biotechnology industry are trying to push their expensive GM seeds onto other “sustainable” uses like corn plastic or biofuels.

It would be wonderful to have truly sustainable materials from renewable sources that could substitute plastic, but turning to GM crops is not the solution.
I also personally believe phrases like “NatureWorks® PLA does not contain genetically modified material, nor does its production require any genetically modified raw material,” found on NatureWorks’ website, can be misleading.

The idea of making polymers out of renewable materials is lovely and I will happily support PLA when it becomes GM-free.

Want to find out more?

Corpwatch’s 2002 article predicting PLA was going to be “greenwash”

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