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Biodegradable Cups: What Is PLA Plastic?


By Dean Schwartz (SWAG Master):

Whether you’ve already swapped out your SUV for a hybrid, or you’re just beginning to use reusable straws, everyday people are taking incremental steps to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Large corporations are taking note! Many are starting to take steps to reduce their plastic consumption.

For instance, depending on where you buy your iced coffee, you may notice a paper straw in your cup instead of plastic. Some people have lamented the change. Paper isn’t as sturdy. It doesn’t hold up as well. However, plastic has been contributing to a global problem we all must take steps to solve. Thankfully, environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional plastic are now available for everything from biodegradable cups, to medical devices. One of the most popular eco-friendly plastics is called PLA.

What You Need To Know About PLA Plastic

Most plastics are derived from nonrenewable petroleum reserves. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that doesn’t sound very environmentally friendly…because it’s not. In contrast, Polylactic Acid (PLA) is derived from renewable resources, like corn starch or sugar cane.

PLA is an extremely popular raw material because it’s cost-efficient, versatile, and biodegradable (meaning it naturally degrades when exposed to the environment). For example, a PLA bottle left in the ocean would typically degrade in 6 to 24 months, compared to conventional plastics which could take upwards of a thousand years (!!) to degrade.

PLA plastic has many different applications. Some of the most common uses include:

  • Films
  • Cups
  • Bottles
  • Medical Devices

…all of which are biodegradable. While SOBO may not be branding medical screws, pins, and rods that are used in surgery, we certainly do use PLA plastic to provide our clients with eco-friendly solutions for their SWAG. Let’s take a closer look at a project we did for Shaw-Ross and their rose wine, The Palm.

The SOBO Connection: Custom Biodegradable Cups

biodegradable cups 2

We heard from a marketing consultant about The Palm Rosé Wine. They wanted 12oz and 9oz clear cups, printed with their custom colors, and it was important for the cups to be biodegradable.

The custom cups were meant for indoor and outdoor events, so they needed to hold up well while also minimizing the impact they’d leave on the environment. This sounds like a job for… PLA plastic, to the rescue!

We nailed it! From the size of the cups to the custom colors, the end result came out exactly as we’d all hoped. And they won’t sit in a landfill for thousands of years after the event! That’s what we call a Win-Win.

SOBO has access to a number of biodegradable cups in a variety of sizes:

  • 3oz cup is (great for sampling)
  • 9oz (more of a wine pour)
  • 12oz cups (for larger servings)
  • Greater than 12oz options are also available for those thirsty folks!

We encourage all our clients to be as eco-friendly as possible while growing their brand. Imagine having personalized disposable coffee cups at your next client conference, tradeshow, team building program, or meetup.

Get Started With Your Next Project >>

Give SOBO a call 888.752.0432 or email info@soboconcepts.com and learn more about your options for biodegradable cups or other environmentally friendly options.

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