Fossil fuel based packaging materials have dominated for the last 6-7 decades making them omnipotent and their influence on day to day life of the common man is alarming. Though every one knows that these packaging materials are not environment-friendly, their convenience of use makes it difficult to wean people away from them. Regulating their use by the public by mandatory actions also does not seem to be succeeding, probably because of alternate option not being available to the public. Bio-degradable packing materials are increasingly being used though their availability in required quantities is uncertain. Reported development of a lactic acid based plastic material, commercially available and easily degradable within 90 days, therefore is a welcome news for the food industry.
"Poly Lactic Acid is a renewable plant based material, produced from the fermentation of starch from crops, (most commonly cornstarch or sugarcane in the United States), into lactic acid that is then polymerized. Its blends are used in a wide range of applications including computer and mobile phone casings, foil, biodegradable medical implants, molds, tins, cups, bottles and other packaging".
The ability of this bio-plastic to withstand temperatures up to 105C, its recycling properties and ease of usability make it an acceptable material for many applications including fabrication of containers, bottles, cups, etc. Its easy biodegradability without releasing any toxic substances to the environment unlike other plastics which take 700 years to degrade, makes it a 'green' packaging option with low carbon foot print.