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PLA plastic gaining real niche
Jeremy Faludi, 29 Oct 04

PLA, a corn-derived bio-plastic invented by Dow Chemical, it is starting to exit the mere-gadget phase and enter the large-niche-adoption phase. So much so that there's an article on it in the Wall Street Journal, which is a conservative enough paper to think that people mostly buy hybrid cars not because they're green, but because of their high-tech novelty.

For those who haven't already heard of PLA, it is basically a replacement for polyester that's made from corn. It means compostable plastic packaging, and is also used to make "Ingeo" cloth, but is not structurally sound enough to make "durable goods" with. One downside is that it's made from corn kernels, not husk or stalk, so growing for plastic competes with growing for food instead of taking a waste stream. However, it's a great material, a huge step in the right direction, and hopefully its success will continue to grow.

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