Most plastics are derived from the distillation and polymerization of nonrenewable petroleum reserves, but Polylactic Acid (PLA) is different. Instead of traditional petroleum, PLA utilises renewable resources like corn starch or sugar cane. It is defined as a bioplastic, as it is derived from biomass.

Polylactic Acid is biodegradable and has characteristics similar to polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), or polystyrene (PS). It can be produced from already existing manufacturing equipment (those designed and originally used for petrochemical industry plastics, and although it is more expensive to produce at this stage than petroleum-based plastics, its impact on the environment is minimal when compared with traditional plastics.


Corn kernels - the main ingredient in PLA - showing natural alternatives to prevent microplastics and plastic pollution



There are several different types of Polylactic Acid, including Racemic PLLA (Poly-L-lactic Acid), Regular PLLA (Poly-L-lactic Acid), PDLA (Poly-D-lactic Acid), and PDLLA (Poly-DL-lactic Acid). They each have slightly different characteristics but are similar in that they are produced from a renewable resource (lactic acid: C3H6O3) as opposed to traditional plastics which are derived from nonrenewable petroleum.



PLA is extraordinarily versatile and can replace most traditional-petroleum based plastic products. Its main benefit is the fact that it naturally degrades when exposed to the environment. Typically, a PLA bottle left in the ocean would degrade within six to 24 months, which compared to conventional plastics that can take several hundred to a thousand years to degrade, this makes PLA the top choice for plastic alternatives when considering the environment.

A single corn head with the leaves pulled back - the main ingredient in polyactic acid, a great alternative to plastic




As the name implies, corn starch biocompostables are made from corn starch. PLA (polylactic acid) is typically made from the sugars in corn starch (as is the case with Bonnie Bio‘s certified compostable & biodegradable plastic alternatives range), cassava or sugarcane. It is biodegradable, carbon-neutral and edible. To transform corn into plastic, corn kernels are immersed in sulfur dioxide and hot water, where its components break down into starch, protein, and fibre.



When our products break down, they breakdown consistently with other natural materials. At Bonnie Bio, we’re proud to say that our biobased certified compostable and biodegradable plastic alternatives have been manufactured to comply with the international standards EN 13432, AS 5810, ASTM D6400, ASTM D6868 and carry the DIN CERTCO, CE, FDA and Seedling logos. We are the only company in South Africa to have international certifications.

To shop our range of certified compostable and biodegradable products, please click here.

A row of Bonnie Bio UK’s eco-friendly products, including PLA bags, compostable straws, and biodegradable cutlery