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October 2004

Polyactide Recycling Research Data Presented

Minneapolis, MN— Preparing for the use of polylactide (PLA) in the manufacturing of bottles, Cargill Dow is following testing guidelines identified in the Association of Postconsumer Recyclers’ (APR) Champions for Change program to ensure the successful integration of PLA into the U.S. recycling stream.

Cargill Dow presented independent third party data at the APR meeting in Seattle, Washington focused on answering questions about the recyclability of a bottle or bottle variant, to determine a material’s impact on the current waste collection stream. Derived 100% from annually renewable resources, PLA is a nature-based alternative to traditional, petroleum-based plastic materials and is highly desired by consumers, brand owners and food retailers. Based on initial research, it has been determined that PLA will have no measurable impact on the existing recycling stream and can be effectively sorted using available detection technology.

“Cargill Dow will continue to work with the appropriate associations and organizations to evaluate the disposal impact of PLA in the U.S.,” said Brian Glasbrenner, business development manager PLA bottles, for Cargill Dow. “We understand the importance of independent testing, and by working with APR under the guidelines of its Champions for Change program, we are taking the right steps to ensure the successful integration of PLA bottles into the country’s waste management systems.”

Cargill Dow has also been working with the Recycle America Alliance, a subsidiary of Waste Management, Inc. Trials in actual recycling facilities have shown that PLA can be collected through normal plastic recycling channels and that the technology exists to efficiently separate PLA from other commonly recycled materials. In addition to its fit with the recycling stream, PLA has been successfully composted in applications where that disposal method is desired and commercial composting infrastructure is in place.

Cargill Dow’s PLA has been independently reviewed by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) for certification according to ASTM 6400-99. PLA received listing on the BPI positive list for compostable materials. End products made with Cargill Dow’s PLA will compost in municipal/industrial facilities according to ISO, CEN, ASTM, BPI and DIN regulations. It also meets the standards established in the EU (EN), Japan (JIS), Taiwan (CNS) and Korea (KS).

The multiple disposal alternatives of PLA means that it can play a key role in landfill diversion. In addition to its ability to be mechanically recycled and composted, it has shown favorable properties for use where incineration is the preferred waste disposal method. In addition, PLA may offer the potential landfill diversion option of being chemically recycled.


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