Xiamen Bioleader Environmental Protection Co., Ltd

Xiamen Bioleader Environmental Protection Co., Ltd

Professional Supplier of Biodegradable Tableware and Food Packaging!

PLA Coated Board Cups FAQs

 Q             What makes PLA coated board different from PE coated board

A             In conventional paper cups they are coated with PE (Polyethylene) derived from oil, to make board waterproof. Cups coated in PLA (Polylatic acid) the plastic is derived from plants, so both the board and the coating are derived from fully renewable sources.

Q           What % of a paper cup is represented by the coating

A            The coating makes up less than 5% by weight

Q             PLA has been used to make plastic glasses for a while, but this can only be used for cold drinks, can PLA coated cups be used for hot drinks
A             The PLA used for paper cups has been treated to enable it to withstand the temperature of hot drinks.

Q             Will the coating on PLA cups dissolve with hot coffee
A             PLA does not dissolve with water, it is broken down by microbes over time in industrial composting or paper recycling plants.

Q             Is PLA food safe
A             Yes, The process used to make this material starts with plant sugars and ends with a non
oxic plastic similar to other materials used to package food. It is FDA approved, and although this application (coating paperboard) is relatively new, this material is used extensively for packaging produce and other food items.

Q             What kind of inks are used on paper cups
A             most paper cup manufactures now use water based inks, and are food compliant

Q             Can paper cups contain post consumer recycled fibres
A             Under legislation in most countries, materials in contact with food have to be manufactured from virgin material, as you will appreciate, when you put the cup to your lips, you need to know where it has come from!!

Q             Can PLA coated cups be recycled
A             Yes any paper cups can be recycled; the best route would be to return them to paper mills, for fibre recovery. Energy recovery would be the next best option, and finally industrial composting. The above do need to be done through a recycling scheme like www.save-a-cup.co.uk a recycling scheme in the UK
Council / municipal composting is sometimes not allowed as they will not take food packaging, this is a complicated issue and should be researched separately.

Q             Can I recycle cups through office paper recycling
A             although a odd few cups finding themselves in paper waste would probably not be a issue, most waste paper recyclers will not take paper once contaminated with coffee cups, as most paper ends up being hand sorted, and finding piles of mouldy paper cups in the paper stream will cause problems.

Q             What happens to PLA coated cups in a landfill site
A             A land fill site is designed to stop anything rotting down, this is to prevent methane gases having a impact on the atmosphere, as well as preventing leach aids reaching the water table, so whether a PE coated cup, PLA coated cup or anything else, nothing degrades in a land fill site.

Q             If I send PLA cups to landfill have I made a difference
A             yes you have made a difference, as PLA cups are from a renewable resource

Q             How much difference will I make using PLA cups
A             You must take into account the coating on a paper cup (PLA or PE) is only 5% (average) by weight, so is a very small amount of waste.

Q             Can I use paper cups to reduce my company's impact on the environment
Yes           1) get your paper cups recycled- fibre recovery will be best
                2) print a environmental message on the cup, encouraging employees to recycle and meet company targets. See

Q             Can I get a PLA lid
A             At this time, PLA lids are not possible, but a huge amount of research is being done, and should be available at some time.

Q             Where can I find out more about PLA
A             Please visit the
nature works web site

Q             Why does PLA coated cups cost more
A             The production of PLA coated board is much slower and more problematic than making PE coated board, converting PLA coated board into cups requires machines to be adapted, and making the cups is much more difficult.

Q             Am I making a difference
A             Just by asking the question, and thinking about the environment, it starts the process, each person / business has to pick a route that fits with their financial and environmental goals, and that will be different for each person / company. There is no one route for everybody.

Q        Are Bioware Paper Cups any different

A        Bioware is a product produced from a oil based plastic coating that is compostable to EN13432, Bioware is cheaper to produce than PLA, and therefore is more economical, but as composting facilities are limited it would be better to recycle back into paper cups.