The Great Debate: Polylactic Acid Vs Plastic Cutlery

green plastic cutlery

The debate surrounding plastic has been a hot topic in recent years. The latest battleground in this debate is between two types of plastic: PLA cutlery and plastic cutlery. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s important to understand the differences between them before making a decision about which is best for your needs.

In this blog post, we will take a deep dive into the pros and cons of both materials to understand which one is better.

What Is PLA?

Polylactic Acid, or PLA, is a thermoplastic polymer derived from renewable resources such as cornstarch or sugar cane. It is easy to use and is relatively safe for the environment. PLA is also used in a wide range of products, such as medical implants, packaging materials, and bioplastics. 

Pros of PLA

  • Biodegradable- it will break down into natural components with the help of microorganisms. This reduces waste and helps reduce pollution from landfills.
  • Non-toxic- PLA is a bioplastic derived from renewable sources like corn, sugar cane, or cassava, making it a better option for the environment.
  • Strong and Durable- it has higher tensile strength and stiffness.
  • Heat resistant- It can resist heat up to 200 degrees Celsius. This means you can use your PLA cutlery for both cold and hot dishes without fear of the plastic melting or becoming deformed. 
  • Lightweight- PLA is much lighter compared to other materials, making it easier to handle and transport. 

Cons Of PLA

  • Unsuitable for high-temperature environments–  due to it’s low melting point. When compared with disposable plastic cutlery, PLA cutlery does not hold up well when used for hot food; it will bend and lose its shape if exposed to temperatures above about 60°C. 
  • It’s more expensive than traditional plastics–  is typically more expensive due to its biodegradable properties and the cost of the raw materials.

What Is Plastic Cutlery?

Plastic cutlery is a type of disposable eating utensil that is made out of various types of plastic materials. These include polypropylene, polystyrene, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). It has become a popular option in restaurants, catering companies, and households.

Pros Of Plastic Cutlery

  • Provides convenience– often used for single-use purposes, like parties, picnics, or take-out orders. 
  • Offers a wide range of designs. 
  • Thicker and more rigid– This makes it more resistant to wear and tear. 
  • Cheaper- plastic cutlery is usually cheaper than polylactic acid (PLA) cutlery
  • Low cost- It is relatively cheaper than PLA and other materials.

Cons Of Plastic Cutlery

  • Contains harmful chemicals-  plastic cutlery is made from petroleum-based polymers, and it’s well known that these materials can leach toxic chemicals into your food.
  • It’s not easily biodegradable- can be a hazard to people’s health if not disposed of properly. 


When choosing between PLA and plastic cutlery, consider factors like cost, sustainability, health, and durability to make the best decision for you and your lifestyle. Think about what matters most to you—saving money now or preserving resources for the future? 

Is using reusable items instead of disposable plastic products important to you? Then opt for PLA cutlery. On the other hand, if price and convenience are most important to you, then disposable plastic cutlery might be a better choice.

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