A line of high-impact, heat-resistant PLA compounds has landed honors for combining sustainability and performance.
Teknor Apex engineered bio-based Terraloy PLA compounds, which are compostable and reportedly generate less greenhouse gas than conventional resins. The materials are suitable for a range of food packaging and utensils.
Temperature and impact
Bob Martino, Teknor Apex representative, told FoodProductionDaily the material offers better impact resistance and heat endurance than conventional PLA.
“Unlike the basic PLA polymer, Terraloy HDT is a compound—that is, it is mostly PLA but also contains other ingredients that enhance its properties,” he said. “In the past, for example, you could get PLA with enhanced toughness or heat resistance, but not both in the same PLA raw material.”
Edwin Tam, manager of new strategic initiatives, said the Terraloy engineering team worked to balance performance with sustainability.
"The work of our Terraloy technical team (headed by technical manager Greg Anderson, along with our research partner Cerestech) has enabled us to enhance polylactic acid in areas such as heat resistance, impact resistance and processability while retaining key bioplastics values such as FDA compliance, high bio-based content, and compostability," he said.
The Terraloy HDT PLA compounds come in extrusion grades, suitable for producing thermoformed products such as trays, bowls, cups, and lids. The also come in injection-molding grades for creating bowls, cups, and cutlery.
According to the company, the materials are FDA compliant, and compostable in accordance with the ASTM D-6400 standard. Additionally, the company has attained USDA BioPreferred certification; bio-based content of the molding and extrusion grades is 84 and 96%, respectively.
In a life-cycle analysis, Teknor Apex reported, Terraloy HDT PLA compounds exhibited slightly more potential for greenhouse gas generation than uncompounded PLA resin, and less than half the greenhouse gas of high-impact polystyrene (HIPS).
The Innovation in Bioplastics awards program, introduced by SPI’s Bioplastic Council last year, is designed to recognize creative application of bioplastics materials, products, or processes by a company. Entries are judged on innovation, sustainability benefits, and impact on the marketplace.