CPLA VS. PSM Cutlery

Okay, let me start off by saying the title to this post is not a secret code word that I am asking you to decode. They are actually names of product materials used a lot in sustainable foodservice manufacturing.

CPLA stands for Crystallized PLA, basically corn in a resin form. PSM stands for Plant Starch Material, basically corn, potatoes, plastic and possibly some other stuff in a resin form. I decided to write this post because a question was posed earlier regarding PSM vs. CPLA Cutlery and their compostability factor. First, CPLA cutlery is one of the only available products I know that is fully compostable in a commercial facility. Oh, and it is provided by Vegware which is a participating supplier for The Green Market place  (thought I would throw that out there:). PSM is a biodegradable cutlery option but is not fully compostable due to the material including some forms of plastic. Initially, many manufacturers were making PSM as an alternative to straight plastic products which was great. However, now people are learning more about composting and care where there waste goes after it is tossed, so compostability weighs higher than just being biodegradable. But, do not get me wrong…choose PSM over plastic is still a better choice.

Remember, you can always do the burn test and get a quick answer to the question ”plastic or not?” Now, make sure to try this test near water, with gloves on and a mask (okay you may not need all that but I need to emphasize BE CAREFUL). So, once you have your bio cutlery in hand…all you need to do is light it and blow out the flame quickly. If you see black or white smoke with a burning ash smell, you have plastic in your midst. If you see more of a haze than smoke with a fruity, grainy smell then it’s a compostable winner folks.

I hope this helps and thanks to Robert at Northwest Polymer for the great “how to” on spotting plastics. I know I am usually about meetings, events and all things in between but wanted to make sure you had your lesson in bio-cutlery, everyone needs that:) Until next time…

Original article found here

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