I do not disagree in concept with Peter Anderson's letter to the editor [“PLA will negatively impact recycling,” Aug. 17, Page 7]. Polylactic acid would potentially be damaging to the recycling stream and the costs could be prohibitive.
I do have a concern that the whole story is not being told here and that there may be perceptions conceived that a bio-based product, even though not a PLA product, would produce similar resulting negative impacts. As a consumer, and thus researcher, of these and similar products, I feel that it needs to be clear to my peers that we need to look at the differing technologies individually and insure we talk about apples and apples, not apples and oranges.
The PLA product is excellent in some capacities such as dinnerware, short-term cups, etc. As a bottling agent, we have discovered that PLA does not meet all of our needs inclusive of the recycling issues addressed by Mr. Anderson. A PLA bottling product should be identified as outside the recovery cycle (triangle 7 at minimum).
I also wish to note here that no matter how good the recycling program becomes, many items will end up in the landfills (studies have concluded as high as 75 percent). The recycling programs are the best result, but human nature will take the easy path. Bio-based products are going to be a necessity.
Hawaii Deep Blue LLC