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New (and first) PLA recycler opens shop in U.S.

A company claiming to be the first in the U.S. to exclusively recycle post consumer and post industrial poly...


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April 15, 2010 by Canadian Plastics

A company claiming to be the first in the U.S. to exclusively recycle post consumer and post industrial polylactic acid (PLA) back into lactic acid has just opened its doors.

Plarco, Inc., of Eau Claire, Wis., also announced the signing of agreements with two of the heavy hitters of the PLA world. First, the company has contracted with Concord, Calif.-based supplier BioCor, which purchases and resells scrap PLA, to be BioCor’s exclusive recycler of post consumer and post industrial PLA. Second, Plarco has entered into an agreement to sell the lactic acid to Minnetonka, Minn.-based NatureWorks LLC, perhaps the leading producer of PLA under the firm’s Ingeo brand name; the lactic acid will be shipped to NatureWorks’ Blair, Neb. facility, where it will be polymerized into Ingeo biopolymer.

“Plarco’s recycling process will help to create true cradle-to-cradle reuse of post consumer and post industrial PLA,” said Plarco CEO Charles Terry. “Our contractual relationships with both BioCor and NatureWorks and the trend toward greater use of biopolymers bode well for Plarco’s sustained business growth.”

The three-way business model highlights the potential of PLA use in North America, company executives say. “The supply chain in which BioCor locates and aggregates post consumer and post industrial PLA scrap, Plarco processes the scrap back to lactic acid, and NatureWorks utilizes reclaimed lactic acid as a cost effective raw material in its polymer process demonstrates the versatility and sustainability of PLA in terms of end-of-life options,” said Mike Centers, BioCor’s executive director.