Three Reasons Why PLA Cups Are More Expensive Than PLA

Generally speaking, people can’t wrap their heads around how PLA cups are more expensive than plastic cups.  I mean they both look the same and serve the same purpose, right?

Right, except:

  1. Ingredients are different.

Plastic is produced from feedstocks derived from natural gas processing and crude oil refining.  More and more countries worldwide are finally agreeing that plastic is toxic.  Having said that, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Check below the chemical reaction between plastic and orange.


juice/peal, for instance:

If a mixture of juice and some pieces of citrus peels is poured into such cups, the polystyrene contained in the cup will be melted into the juice, and that means those who are drinking the juice will also drink “polystyrene”.


PLA, on the other hand, is made from plant starch derived from corn, cassava, maize, sugarcane, or sugar beet pulp. The sugar in these renewable materials is fermented and turned into lactic acid, which is then made into polylactic acid, or PLA.

  1. Different Melting Points – Means Different Shipping Procedures & Storage

PLA melts at 40 degrees celsius.  Transporting this product to different countries, especially hot climate zones, is more expensive, as they require temperature-controlled vehicles.  Why?  They melt, and that would be creating more unnecessary waste!  Also, due to their low melting points, these items need to be stored in professional air-conditioned facilities. Not a problem with plastic though; they can be shipped on board regular vehicles, and they have a higher melting point, which also means easier storage facilitation.  Check the video below!



180 degree F water poured into a 12 oz PET plastic cup (left) and a 12 oz PLA plastic cup (right)

  1. PLA is Compostable, Plastic is not

This means that PLA cups can be returned to the source of origin: soil.  So from plants to cups, and back to the soil for more plants.  And the cycle continues.  This means the process of creation is much more thoughtful and intricate.

Plastic, however, even if recycled, will take hundreds of years to decompose.  This essentially means that they are lying around our lands and oceans, for years to come. Our kids are inheriting our plastic, and if a change in consumption is not made, they will be piling their own plastic too. Garbage everywhere that we essentially cannot get rid of!

“Things are seldom what they seem”, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, etc, etc, etc.  Sorry for the cheese, but it’s true!

Point is, they might look alike, but they are in no way the same.

The moral of the story is, you can’t compare apples to oranges.

Although all cars get us from point A to B, they do not have the same price and do not function the same.  So if we are willing to pay a little more for a better engine, why can’t we pay a small (really minor) marginal amount to save our earth and our health?


Seriously not getting it,




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