Post consumer PLA recycling

Hi community, i know the owners of an innovative vegan restaurant. they use solely PLA in the cutlery and take-away boxes. They are looking at a way to decrease their environmental footprint. Maybe we can start a PLA recycling station together. Anyone with experience about a) the performance of PLA with precious plastic’s machines (including cleaning the PLA) and b) about the the material’s potential for its next life cycle (it is probably not possible (laws & regulations) to use the recycled PLA for food contact products)?

looking forward to your input!

thanks, Martin

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Hello Martin !

Of what i read (not experienced yet) is that PLA is a no-go with the Precious Plastic schredder;
Why is that ? Because melting point of PLA is too low and friction with the schredding blades makes it start melting and sticking everything together :confused:

Ever tried pouring yourself a hot coffee in a PLA disposable cup ? (spoil : the coffee will make a big hole and go through the cup, bye bye hot coffee :D)

Hope this helped
Peace !

Hey Martin – the current trend in PLA is to send it to a commercial composting facility as this plastic is designed to break down in low temp (which is why shredding is hard, melt point is under 120 degrees F). It also has a shortened shelf life for that reason.

Hi, when I saw the Precious Plastic demo at the NYC Adidas/Parley run for the oceans they were shredding PLA and it seemed to work fine.

PLA goes through the shredder just make sure you are using a large sieve so it goes through quickly, if it sits there it will melt from the shearing heat as mentioned by Imuh.
Processing is pretty easy, we pre-clean and post clean after shredding like everything else.
Compression molding is usually what we do with it. Clocks, bowls, coasters, etc.
I don’t think you can call it food safe unless your process is certified food safe.