PLA, a bioplastic created from renewable and plant-based sources, can be processed in a number of ways–by extrusion such as 3D printing, injection molding, film and sheet casting, blow molding, and spinning, providing access to a wide range of product formats. As a raw material, PLA is most often made available as films or in pellets.
In the form of a film, PLA shrinks upon heating, allowing it to be used in shrink tunnels. This makes it suitable for a range of packaging applications, where it can replace oil-based plastics like polypropylene or polyester.
Films made of PLA have very high moisture vapor transmission, and very low oxygen and CO2 transmission rates. They also have good chemical resistance to hydrocarbons, vegetable oils, and more. Most commercial PLA films are a 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. Their biodegradation time can vary greatly, however, depending on composition, crystallinity and environmental conditions. In addition to packaging films and wraps, applications for PLA film include disposable bags and trash liners, as well as compostable agriculture films. An example of this is compostable Mulch film.