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Published on February 2nd, 2009 | by Jackie Hernandez

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PLA Fiber: From Plastics to Pillows

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PLA stands for polylactic acid, which is a biodegradable polyester fiber made from renewable resources like corn starch or sugar cane.  The amazing PLA fiber is used to make everything from food packaging to batting. This relatively inexpensive fiber is a great eco-alternative in the craft world for conventional polyester fiber fill.

Although PLA fibers are biodegradable, it is important to note you can’t just toss them to the side of the road or put them in a land fill.  The FAQ site for Ingeo™, the trademark name for PLA made by NatureWorks LLC, states the PLA products can be physically recycled, industrially composted, incinerated, or chemically converted back to lactic acid through hydrolis.  Ingeo™ is actually classified as compostable rather than biodegradable in the US.

In the past few years, Ingeo™ fiber has been hitting mainstream markets.  It offers the softness and drape of natural fibers, like cotton or silk, with the performance of synthetic fibers.  It is often combined with cotton to provide improved wicking for high-performance sports wear.  It is used in recyclable carpet tiles, coffee mugs, and one reader submission on Treehugger reports PLA-fiber bedding at Target.  

For us eco-crafters, PLA fiber is available as batting, fiber fill, and pillow forms.  I buy my PLA fiber pillow inserts at Joanns.  The price is about 50% higher than regular polyester pillow forms, but I have found their frequent 40-50% off coupons help make up the difference.  The pillows perform similar to the regular polyester versions.  I find both can get lumpy over time, but for the price they are unbeatable.

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About the Author

I am a work-at-home mom busy chasing after my son and establishing my eco-business, Tiny Décor. I also write the Tiny Décor Blog aimed at modern parents trying to go green for their kids. Tiny Décor has allowed me to turn a passion for sewing, craft, and environmentalism into a business. Blog writing has become an outlet for me to share my experiences going green, being a parent, and loving the planet.



  • http://Saintless.com Misty Fowler

    Sounds great, but how would an average consumer get the material to the appropriate place to properly dispose of it?

  • http://Saintless.com Misty Fowler

    Sounds great, but how would an average consumer get the material to the appropriate place to properly dispose of it?

  • http://Saintless.com Misty Fowler

    Sounds great, but how would an average consumer get the material to the appropriate place to properly dispose of it?

  • Bernice Coulter

    For those who are allergic to corn, this is terrible news! Finding all the hidden corn in foods, paper products, food-grade waxes, soaps, and other products is bad enough. Now we will encounter it in our bedding and clothes! I hope they label it well.

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