There are many manufacturers of corn based plastic (PLA) cups. There are cold cups and hot cups. Eco products is one brand that manufactures and distributes corn-plastic cups, plates, and utensils. There has been some concern with the durability of this plastic but the technology has great improved.
The brand Eco Products produces corn based beer cups, hot cups, and even printed cups. Cups are also available at Biodegradablestore.com, CornMug.com, and Nature Friendly. Many mainstream stores (Office Depot, Costco, Smart and Final, etc) are starting to carry corn cups because of their growing popularity.
Corn-based cups are part of a growing trend of “bio-plastics” that also includes compostable utensils made from potatoes and box material derived from sugar cane. There are some concerns about the use of corn in alternative plastic products. Colleen Barricklow of Green Logic Earth Friendly Goods has brought up the point that PLA products are made from genetically modified corn that do not break down easily in composts, and alternately recommends products made from bagasse, a fiber from sugar cane that breaks down more easily in compost.
Bagasse products do break down much more quickly than PLA products. I haven’t seen any bagasse cups on the market, but bagasse bowls, plates, and containers all exist.
Biodegredation of bagasse products typically takes place in 1-3 months in a commercial composting environment and 2-4 months in a home composting environment.
Yes — they are bioplastics that are biodegradable and we even have a lot of them at the university I go to. My school, Washington State Univeristy, like many other colleges, is trying to go green — using corn cups and other corn products (spoons, forks, knives etc.) is really a great way to be more eco-friendly. Even if people don’t recycle these products, they are biodegradable and won’t just sit in a landfill.
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