Probably the most eco-friendly cup on the planet…
Brand new to the market are the Goodlife® plastic free Bio Cups. Up until now the only alternative to polyethylene (PE) lined cups has been Polylactic Acid (PLA) – a plastic made from plants – but this is not an environmentally sustainable solution as these cup require specialist industrial composting. Industrial composting is not very eco-friendly as it requires very high temperatures for prolonged periods of time to break down the PLA. Hence PLA lined coffee cups, or indeed other packaging made from or with PLA, do not provide a viable solution for Coffee and Food To Go operators who wish to elevate their environmental credentials.
The Goodlife® Bio Cups represent a huge and exciting breakthrough. They are home compostable and will fully decompose on a standard compost heap – or in landfill – in 4 to 6 weeks leaving no residues. More significantly these can be recycled locally in the standard paper and board recycling systems which are available and easily accessible in all areas of the UK.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about compostable hot cups
Are Goodlife® Bio-Cups made using PLA Lining?
No, these cups are made using water based dispersion barrier which is impregnated on to the paper in very fine quantity.
Are Goodlife® Bio-cups Recyclable?
Yes, these Bio Cups are 100% recyclable, it can be directly fed into a pulper and can be used to make recycled paper.
Can PLA coated paper cups be recycled?
PLA coated cups cannot be recycled. It is harder to recycle PLA coated cups than PE coated cups since the coating thickness is almost 30% more
Are Goodlife® cups bio degradable?
Yes, these cups are bio degradable, As per ASTM D 5511and as per ASTM 6400 Standard tests conducted on the cups by Intertek. Goodlife® Bio cups are naturally compostable and do not require industrial composting.
So does that mean you can throw Goodlife® Bio cup in your back yard and they will degrade naturally?
Yes. Just bury it in your compost heap or in the flower bed or where ever you have wet soil and check after 30 days. You will not find any residue.
Are Goodlife® Bio cups food safe and are there any certificates to prove the same?
Yes these cups are food safe and migration testing conducted by internationally accreditation agencies certifies the same.
Migration Testing Certification available on request.
Are Goodlife® Bio cups microwavable?
Yes they are microwavable safe.
Can Goodlife® Bio cups withstand boiling water?
Yes they can withstand up to 100ºC
PLA starts to melt at around 65ºC (Cappuccino is generally served at over 70ºC)
Will PLA coated cups degrade naturally?
No , PLA is a polymer made from high levels of Poly Lactic Acid molecules. For PLA to biodegrade, you must break up the polymer by adding water to it (a process known as hydrolyzing). Heat and moisture are required for hydrolyzing to occur. So if you throw that PLA cup in the trash, where it will not be exposed to the heat and moisture required to trigger biodegradation, it will sit there for decades or centuries, much like other plastic or plastic lined cups.
So why are PLA coated cup termed as compostable even when they do not compostable in natural conditions?
PLA coated cups are compostable in an industrial hot composter and will not bio degrade in natural conditions.
So how are PLA coated cups composted?
Industrial hot composting is an industrial bio-degrading facility where heat and moisture is provided to allow the PLA lining (or clear PLA plastics) to be broken down. Temperatures of around 60ºC for prolonged time periods are required to trigger the composting cycle. The amount of energy required to run the industrial composting facility, and the high carbon
footprint generated during this bio-degrading process, actually exceed the energy required to manufacture PE coated paper and that means running an industrial composer is more harmful to the environment. Recycling cups or natural composting is the ideal solution which the Goodlife® Bio Cups offer. But unlike PE lined cups our Bio Cups do not need to be specially collected.
What are the other practical difficulty in PLA cups and lids and how do Bio-cups stand up as a solution?
Collection and sorting of waste is a practical problem and used PLA cups have to be separately collected in order to be taken to an industrial composting site. If they goes to the land fill they will sit there just as any other PE coated paper cup that means “PLA WASTE” marked trash cans has to be kept at public locations along with other trash cans.Since Goodlife® Bio cups are naturally biodegradable and recyclable these can be discarded into the natural waste stream, composted with food waste or recycled in the standard local recycling schemes.
Does PLA cups and lids emit harmful gases when burned?
Yes PLA, if burned,emit toxic gases known as VOC’s (Volatile Organic Carbon).
Are PLA coated cups microwave safe?
No PLA coated cups are not microwave safe – it melts at 65 degrees.