Smoothie maker liquidises PLA trial

Smoothie drinks firm Innocent has said the UK’s waste infrastructure isn’t ready for polylactic acid (PLA) packaging, which it is now abandoning in favour of recycled PET.

The company had been trialling the use of a polylactic acid (PLA) bottle for its individual portion ‘one-shot’ Breakfast Thickie smoothie with a view to rolling it out.

However, Innocent has now said that it plans to ditch PLA in favour of recycled plastic, which it hopes to roll out across the whole of its one-shot range by January next year. It introduced 100% recycled PET bottle across four of its one-shot fruit smoothies in September.

The company argues that using recycled PET may be better for the environment and adds that the British waste infrastructure isn’t ready for PLA.

A spokesperson said: “We have concerns about the sourcing of the corn starch material, for increasing amounts of land are being put over for it. So it’s a virgin material although it’s a renewable material. There is also some use of genetically modified corn in PLA which we aren’t keen on.”

She added that composting facilities are not standard across the UK, which meant that PLA was: “going to landfill or contaminating the plastics recycling stream. The feedback we have been getting from local authorities was that they were not keen on it.”

While the PLA during the trial was found to be slightly more temperature sensitive, Innocent said this “was no problem at all” as long as measures to tackle this were put in place.

However, Innocent’s backtracking has attracted some negative press. An article in The Independent a few weeks ago criticised Innocent’s website for suggesting that PLA can be home composted and questioned its claim that PLA is carbon neutral.

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