Go Green with Eco-Products

Waste is a waste of resources.

We are not a disposable products company trying to act green.

Eco-Products is a green company who happens to operate in disposables.

Sustainable disposables sound like an oxymoron, but we live in a consumer culture where disposable products are ubiquitous. And they aren't going away anytime soon. We see this as an incredible opportunity to help change the world—and more importantly, each of the local communities we serve—by making sustainable disposable products that shift an industry.

Being thought leaders in the category of sustainable disposables means connecting people. To the issues. To the solutions. And to each other. It means shifting our mentality towards zero waste, creating products that speak to that mentality and then getting consumers to demand that mentality of their products and their vendors.

Eco-Products Materials

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

What exactly is it?

Eco-Products offers cups, lids, cutlery, straws and containers made from a biopolymer called PLA (polylactic acid). PLA is made from starchy plants like corn, grown right here in the U.S. Starch from corn kernels is processed into a biopolymer that looks, acts, and performs like petroleum-based plastics.

Why we use it?

PLA performs much like traditional plastics, but with the crucial benefit of being 100% compostable in commercial compost facilities. We like PLA because it is versatile, compostable, and best of all, not petroleum derived. We even use it in place of traditional plastic linings in our GreenStripe® and World Art™ hot cups so they are entirely made from renewable materials, unlike most regular hot cups. Many of our food containers and even our compostable cutlery is made from PLA. In cutlery, the formulation of PLA is rigid and durable — perfect for high-strength needs and of course, commercial composting!

What's cool about it?

Most plastics are derived from petroleum, or oil. Oil is our most valuable resource in many ways. It's also a resource that comes with a lot of negative environmental and social impacts. Our PLA products give you the option of products made from renewable resources, like corn instead of oil. Corn can be grown again and again, unlike oil which is nonrenewable. PLA plastics have the added benefit of being compostable when you are finished using them. Composting is an opportunity to divert waste that would otherwise be landfilled — and by composting, you create valuable humus which improves soil so that plants can grow again. How about that?

What is not so cool about it?

PLA in the U.S. comes largely from corn. The reason for this is simple: we grow the most corn of any nation on the planet! Also, because of the large-scale agricultural system that we have today, most (88%) of U.S. corn is genetically modified (GM). We recognize the value of sustainable, organic agriculture and follow the debate and the scientific research surrounding GM crops. One day, we hope to bring you exclusively non-GM PLA, but unfortunately the infrastructure is not there yet for us — or our industry. If GM is a concern for you, check out our BlueStripe™ line of products made with post-consumer recycled content. This is a great environmental choice without the GM component.

Plant Starch

What exactly is it?

Plant Starch Material is made from a mix of 70% plant materials like corn, potatoes, and other vegetables and 30% fillers for strength and heat tolerance. These plant materials are renewable, meaning they can be grown again and again.

Why we use it?

Plant Starch Material is made largely from renewable plants — unlike traditional plastics which are derived from petroleum and are nonrenewable. Replacing as much of the virgin plastic as possible with renewable materials means less virgin petroleum goes into each product. Also, Eco-Products Plant Starch Cutlery has a high-heat tolerance of 200° F, which is why we use it to make cutlery for use with foods at high temperatures.

What's cool about it?

If you don't require a certified compostable solution, our Plant Starch Cutlery is heat tolerant, durable and contains nearly 70% renewable materials. That means that most of the material in this cutlery is not derived from traditional plastics!

What is not so cool about it?

While Plant Starch itself is made of renewable plants, only about 70% of this cutlery is made of Plant Starch Material. The remaining 30% is comprised of strengtheners that allow you to have a heat tolerant, strong cutlery solution. Unfortunately, these strengtheners are not compostable. It can be challenging for compost facilities to tell the difference between this cutlery and other compostable options, so we encourage you to do your best and keep it out of the compost waste stream. We have compostable and recycled content cutlery if you need a different solution, and we think it's important that you know as much as possible about Plant Starch.

Post-Consumer Recycled Polystyrene

What exactly is it?

Post-consumer recycled polystyrene is simply polystyrene that was previously used in other products and has been recycled into our products instead of heading to a landfill. Polystyrene is a common plastic that can be identified by resin code #6. It simply doesn't make sense to us that polystyrene has only one life before it ends up in a landfill. We think that using recycled plastics wherever we can is simply the right thing to do. This is why we bring you the world's first post-consumer recycled content hot lids and cutlery!

Why we use it?

Recycled content hot cup lids and disposable cutlery may seem like small things, but they are steps toward reducing the amount of non-renewable, virgin polystyrene material in most of the hot cup lids and plastic cutlery in the world. Did you know that in an average hot cup lid, there is twice the amount of plastic material (typically virgin polystyrene) in the lid than in the cup lining?! This makes the EcoLid® 25% Recycled Content Hot Cup Lid an important and industry-leading change away from disposable items finite, petroleum resources. Made with 100% RPS, our Recycled Content Cutlery is the only plastic disposable cutlery available that contains no virgin petroleum.

What's cool about it?

The EcoLid® 25 is the world's first and only recycled content hot cup lid, as far as we know. Our BlueStripe™ cutlery is 100% recycled polystyrene! By including the highest amount of recycled content that we can, our lids and cutlery offer some great environmental benefits. Because there are fewer virgin raw materials used in each cup, we save resources for other uses and take material that was headed to the landfill and repurpose it into new products.

What is not so cool about it?

Polystyrene is strong, durable, light, low cost—and everywhere. As a virgin material, it is made from benzene and styrene, and is derived from non-renewable fossil fuels, meaning that it basically never breaks down. As a virgin material, polystyrene has a lot of challenges—but we think it's wasteful to simply toss it away after one short use. Polystyrene is recyclable as a material, but it's not commonly accepted or recycled in most places. For recycling to increase, consumers must demand and purchase recycled content items. Eco-Products encourages you to dispose of these materials responsibly, don't litter, keep these lids and cutlery out of the environment whenever you can, and buy recycled!

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