Energy Efficiency

It takes less energy to make our products

Our products are made from annually renewable agricultural feedstocks that take less energy to produce than petroleum-based products.

It takes 2/3 less energy to make our fiber containers, plates and bowls than it takes to make just one polystyrene foam plate. And it takes 1/2 the energy to make our plant based utensils versus a polystyrene utensil.

Using less energy means less CO2 and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

Eco-profile studies below show the measure the energy and other inputs required to make a product - from the extraction of raw materials to a finished product at the factory gate. The profiles – comparing raw materials and manufacturing energy – show that our materials are far less energy intensive.

Eco-profile Analysis

An eco-profile analysis quantifies all the resources and energy used and the externalities (atmospheric emissions, water usage, and solid waste) associated with manufacturing a product from cradle to factory gate. An eco-profile is only a subset of a complete Life Cycle Analysis because it does not take into account the emissions or energy associated with using or disposing of the product. We derived these numbers by looking at the eco-profile data for producing different materials (foam, plastic and paperboard vs. corn PLA, wheat-straw fiber and bagasse) and the energy needed to manufacture products made from these materials. Our foodservice line of products reduces CO2 emissions by the tons. Our products always come packaged in energy-efficient boxes made from 100% recycled paperboard.

Eco-profiles for different materials*


Manufacturing
(1-lbs of the Material)
Energy Used
(kWh)
Water Used
(gals)
Solid Waste
(lbs)
CO2 Emissions
(lbs)
Wheat-Straw 0.66 13.33 n/a 0.69
Sugarcane Bagasse 1.73 14.41 n/a 1.71
Corn PLA 5.37 8.29 0.042 1.30
Virgin Coated Paperboard (SBS) 5.2 12.38 2.33 3.2
100% Recycled Paperboard (SBS) 3.06 3.53 1.34 1.71
PET (Polyethylene) 10.28 7.45 0.087 2.81
PP (Polypropylene) 9.34 5.12 0.029 1.67
EPS (Polystyrene / Styrofoam) 11.28 20.54 0.113 2.51


Even before we start making our high quality products, we’re saving energy by using bio-based materials.


Production Energy

Production of a product made from different materials requires different amounts of energy. The total energy and emissions are given below for making one pound of finished product (utensils, plates, cups, etc.). The following table shows we make more than two corn PLA-Talc utensils for the same amount of energy it takes to make one from polystyrene. Once used, all our compostable foodservice items can be turned back into nutrient-rich soil ready for next year’s crop. Because all our compostables are derived from renewable plant materials, they’re non-toxic and non-polluting. Safe for you and harmless to the environment.

Manufacturing
(1-lbs of the Final Product)
Energy Used
(kWh)
Wheat-Straw manufactured product 2.06
100% recycled paperboard 3.14
Bagasse manufactured product 3.64
PLA (polylactic acid - thermoforming 6.04
PLA (polylactic acid - injection molding) 6.30
SBS Paperboard (solid bleached sulfate) 6.13
LDPE Film (low density polypropylene - plastic) 10.20
PP injection molding (polypropylene - plastic) 10.27
PET thermoforming (polyethylene terephthalate - plastic) 10.95
GPPS injection molding (general purpose polystyrene - plastic) 11.93
EPS thermoforming (expandable polystyrene / Styrofoam - plastic) 11.95


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.




*Notes on the Eco-profile Data

All eco-profiles for plastics are referenced through PlasticsEurope. Ingeo™ PLA eco-profile data is referenced from NatureWorks LLC. Paperboard data is referenced from Environmental Paper Network Calculator. Since Sugar Cane and Wheat Straw fiber are discarded agricultural by-products and the plants are not grown exclusively for making compostable tableware products, we only take energy & resource and emissions data from field to factory gate. Bagasse and Wheat Straw data is actual manufacturing data.