(1-lbs of the Final Product)
|Wheat-Straw manufactured product
|100% recycled paperboard
|Bagasse manufactured product
|PLA (polylactic acid - thermoforming
|PLA (polylactic acid - injection molding)
|SBS Paperboard (solid bleached sulfate)
|LDPE Film (low density polypropylene - plastic)
|PP injection molding (polypropylene - plastic)
|PET thermoforming (polyethylene terephthalate - plastic)
|GPPS injection molding (general purpose polystyrene - plastic)
|EPS thermoforming (expandable polystyrene / Styrofoam - plastic)
The energy data show that we can produce almost three PLA-Talc utensils for the same amount of total energy as an equivalent polystyrene utensil. And wheat-straw fiber plates take only 31% of the energy needed to make a Styrofoam plate, thus we can actually make more than three plates out of wheat-straw fiber, compared to just one Styrofoam plate. To see how we arrived at our calculations, see below:
Utensils Energy Comparison
Our utensils weigh 5.5 grams each. From the above data we see that Polystyrene Injection Molding uses 11.93 kWh of energy per one pound of finished product, which means one 5.5 g polystyrene utensil uses:
- 11.93 kWh/lb x 0.0121 lb = 0.144 kWh of energy Conversion: 1g =0.0022 lbs, so 5.5g = 0.0121lb
Our PLA-Talc utensils are made from 70% PLA and 30% talc, a naturally occurring mineral. PLA uses 6.3 kWh per pound and talc uses 0.96 kWh of energy per pound of finished product. Our utensils thus take:
- 6.3 kWh/lb x 70% + (0.96 kWh x 30%) x 0.0121 lb = 0.057 kWh of energy Conversion: 1g =0.0022 lbs, so 5.5g = 0.0121lb
So to make one of our PLA-Talc utensils, it takes 0.057 kwh of energy, or 38% of the energy to make one polystyrene utensil of the same weight. Therefore, we can produce almost three PLA-Talc utensils for the same amount of total energy as an equivalent polystyrene utensil.
Plates Energy Comparison
We make more than three wheat straw plates using same amount of total energy as one foam plate. Styrofoam is a very light material and a 9-inch Styrofoam plate weighs approximately 9 grams, while a wheat-straw fiber plate weighs about 60% more, or 16 grams.
Using the Styrofoam thermoforming data, we know the energy used to make one Styrofoam plate is: 11.95 kWh per pound, which means one 9 g Styrofoam plate uses:
- 11.95 kWh/lb x 0.0198 lb = 0.237 kWh of energy Conversion: 1g =0.0022 lbs, so 9g = 0.0198lb
Wheat-straw fiber uses 2.06 kWh per pound of finished product. So one 16-gram wheat-straw fiber plate uses:
- 2.06 kWh/lb x 0.0352 lb = 0.073 kWh of energy Conversion: 1g =0.0022 lbs, so 16g = 0.0352lb
The energy data shows wheat-straw fiber plates take only 31% of the energy needed to make a Styrofoam plate, thus we can actually make more than three plates out of wheat-straw fiber, compared to just one Styrofoam plate.
Clearly, we see that using bio-based materials takes less energy overall, cradle to factory gate, especially for products made from discarded agriculture byproducts like sugarcane and wheat straw. Some claim that the benefits of compostable products are rendered moot if, at the end of life, they are disposed of improperly and wind up in landfills.
In fact, the above energy analysis shows that, even if our products do end up in a landfill, there has still been a significant reduction in energy use, which in turn reduces carbon and other harmful emissions.
So don’t toss out another plastic product. Instead, kick plastic and foam products to the curb and switch to eco-friendly World Centric® compostables.