Busting The Myths On PLA

There is a lot of ambiguity around PLA, so let’s clear that up…

PLA is not a magic solution,

But it is still a pretty good one.  

Polylactic Acid or PLA comes from renewable resources. You may have heard of Biobags, which can be made from PLA. This cornstarch-based, biodegradable thermoplastic is less impactful on the environment, compared to other plastics. It is useful as a substitute to petroleum-based plastics like PET.

But… it is not a magic solution to the plastic problem. There are both pros and cons to its use.  


  • Made from renewable raw materials.
  • It takes less energy and this produces less greenhouse gas to produce PLA, compared to fossil-based plastic
  • Resistant to organic solvents and does not release toxins – this is very important as it means no toxic fumes are released when oxygenated.
  • PLA is also typically used at 100%, not as an additive.
  • Easy to work with and requires less energy to transform
  • Inexpensive


  • A LOT of corn is used in its production. Can we continue to farm large quantities of corn for packaging when there are people that are starving? Is this ethical?
  • Limited use in the consumer space
  • The disposal is not easy. It is also confusing, the specialised recycling services required are not always available to consumers.
  • Lastly, it is NOT easily recyclable or compostable.

A big problem with PLA products is that they are disposed of as plastics. When PLA is mixed in with other plastics, this affects the quality and resale value of the recycled materials and damages equipment. Even though it is recyclable, it does not go into your home recycling bin, as would a milk carton. This is because it is indistinguishable from PET plastics. 

There is a lot of time spent looking into new alternatives to packaging, like moulded pulp etc. however, many of the products used today that are recyclable or compostable are not disposed of correctly. With all of this talk around eco-packaging, why does revolutionary sustainable packaging continue to pile up in the landfill?   


Due to the definition of ‘compostable’, it can be tricky to understand the afterlife of PLA. It is compostable material, but only in industrial environments.  

Sadly, PLA is not home-compostable, without the intense heat of industrial composting, bioplastics won’t degrade on their own in a meaningful timeframe. Typical backyard compost piles do not have a high enough temperature or moisture level to fully break down PLA. To properly dispose of PLA plastics, you have to send them to a commercial facility. These facilities use extremely controlled environments to speed up decomposition. However, the process can still take up to 90 days. 

When PLA ends up in landfill (an environment with little to no light or oxygen), they can still take 100 to 1000 years to decompose. As PLA products do not usually reach the industrial composting sites, they end up contributing to the rapidly growing landfill pile. Whilst, there are around 150 Industrial Composting and Organics Recycling facilities in Australia, many people do not have access to these facilities. 

In the landfill environment, the biodegradable products break down anaerobically, meaning without oxygen, which creates methane-producing bacteria that begin to decompose the waste and generate methane. Some landfills collect methane that is produced in their landfills and use it to create electricity, but most do not.



There is also a lack of information around definitions such as biodegradable. There are concerns in regards to the requirements necessary to label something as biodegradable. Requirements surrounding leaving “no toxic residue“ are unclear, as they may break down but might also be filled with toxic chemicals.

Also, the amount of time the product takes to biodegrade is ‘a reasonably short period of time’, what does that mean? Some businesses use the phrase ‘Made with biodegradable plastic’. Since they are not technically saying it is biodegradable there is nothing stopping them. These loopholes highlight some serious issues. 


The confusion around PLA

There is some ambiguity around PLA, as it is not a polyacid, but rather a polyester. Confusion surrounding the compost-ability and the biodegradability of PLA makes it difficult to understand. Uncertainty from consumers also comes from the difference between the indistinguishable types of plastics they are using.  

PLA is a bioplastic or a bio-based plastic and is the cheapest and most common source of bioplastic.  

Bioplastics are not new, they have been around for at least 100 years, and are currently being used in many different industries, from packaging to health care. PLA is one bioplastic that can be produced from manufacturing equipment that already exists, thus making it more cost-efficient to create.


Why haven’t I heard about PLA?

A plausible reason for the lack of PLA seen is the uncertainty behind its durability and usability in the consumer space. In the plastics market, it has a few limitations. It does not perform well when exposed to everyday environments like heat, moisture, sunlight. The material degrades faster than most other plastics, so PLA will not hold up in environments such as a hot car or in a microwave. Unfortunately, PLA is not durable enough to be used in most consumer products.


Where can PLA be used?

PLA plastics are often used for plastic films and food containers, as they are safe for all food packaging applications. Although, it has a low glass transition temperature, so it is unsuitable to hold hot liquid. Furthermore, it is not watertight. Some of the most common uses include plastic films, bottles, and biodegradable medical devices. These products are expected to biodegrade within 6-12 months. 


A solution?

It is so important to give consumers all of the information they need. Businesses can claim they are biodegradable or compostable, which is great, but what does that mean and what should the consumer do? Adding in a postcard explaining what to do with the packaging after use or supplying infographics is a helpful addition to your package.

6 Tips to Greenify Your eCommerce Packaging

If your business is operating from a sustainability standpoint, making your packaging more sustainable should be a top priority this year. Packaging material makes up about 10% of carbon emissions. By making slight improvements in your packaging process and procedures, will make a significant impact on our environment and your bottom line.

In this article, we share 6 simple ways you can do right now to make your eCommerce packaging environment-friendly and more attractive to your customers.

1. Use 100% recycled materials

Our main goal is to use eco-materials for your shipping needs, be it a paper mailer envelop or eco mailer box. We want to shift to recycled content and move away from virgin fibre paper. Using eco-friendly packaging materials made of 100% recycled paper saves 50% of greenhouse gas emissions from producing paper made from excess raw materials. Much of these emissions come from chopping down trees and converting them to virgin fibre. Switching to a recycled paper mailer can minimise carbon emissions and trees chopped down.

2. Repurpose and reuse your packaging

You probably receive inbound shipments placed in corrugated boxes and mailers. If it’s something you can consider (and if it doesn’t affect the customer experience), try saving these boxes and reusing them for consumer packaging. This helps reduce one hundred per cent on emissions and resources needed to produce a new package. Make sure reusing and repurposing boxes works for your brand as well.

3. Lessen your packaging materials

Striking a balance between creating a great customer experience and using environment-friendly eCommerce packaging solutions can get tricky. If you can come up with a thoughtful unboxing experience without using excess materials, it would be a significant step towards reducing packaging waste.

It may help to review your packaging and see if you’re using too many layers of materials (tissue paper, notecards, stickers, ribbons). If you have two notecards, can it be possible to include one and print on both sides? Are you able to remove one layer of packaging paper while still giving your goods enough protection?

4. Enhance your void fill and dunnage

Use eco-friendly materials for your void fill and dunnage. There are void fills made of paper, mushroom, and cornstarch. You can also use corrugated bubble to add a layer of protection for goods placed in a tight space. Recycled packaging paper is an excellent choice for filling larger spaces.

5. Make your shipping labels more sustainable

Outbound eCommerce packages need shipping labels. However, if you release 1,000 packages every week and are using traditional labels, you’re generating approximately 400 pounds of rubbish a year with your release liners. Shifting to zero waste liners is one way to eliminate waste. It also lowers your emissions since release liners are post-consumer waste.

6. Use soy-based or water-based inks

Unlike petroleum-based inks, soy-based and water-based inks are more eco-friendly, and it makes recycling paper or carton much easier. Besides being safe for the environment, soy inks can produce brighter and sharper images as opposed to traditional inks.

Need more tips to make your business more sustainable and better for the environment? Get in touch with the packaging design experts at RooCreate. Call us at +61 467 057 640 or send us an instant message at hello@rooland.com.

Why A Great Unboxing Experience Matters for Your Brand

Unboxing Eco Packaging
Photo by The Creative Exchange

We’re all familiar with the excitement that comes with opening presents on Christmas Day. What makes the experience memorable is the thrill of discovering what’s underneath the nifty wrapping, and savouring the moment.

An attractive, well-thought-out presentation of consumer items play a significant role in establishing a pleasurable ‘unboxing’ experience. Through the years, unboxing has gone a long way from being a seasonal pleasure to a necessary marketing tool for eCommerce businesses.

eCommerce experiences are not complete without the satisfying unboxing of packages. And if you want to set a great impression on your customer, you need to think of a way to get them psyched about getting their hands on your product.

And this is where you’ll need the power of a curated unboxing made possible by an impressive product packaging and presentation.

Here are some good reasons why you need to invest in a solid unboxing experience for your product:

1. It’s a great vehicle for expressing your brand story.

Photo by The Creative Exchange

If you aren’t maximizing your unboxing experience, you’re missing out on an opportunity to tell the world about your unique brand story.

Besides providing a pretty face for your product, unboxing has more to do with crafting your brand’s narrative in a creative way. And your narrative should tell your customers why they should choose your product over your competitors.

In other words, your unboxing must clearly show the reasons why your customers should care about your product.

An effective brand identity communicates the following:

  • How your brand became what it is today
  • What you’re aiming to become
  • Your competitive edge over other brands in your industry
  • The value you want to offer your customers

Fine-tuning your unboxing experience will set you on the right path to creating a powerful brand message. It’s also tangible proof of the values you uphold as a brand.

Most importantly, a well-curated product unboxing lets your customers know that you value your interactions with them, and this forges trust overtime.

2. It establishes customer loyalty.

Photo by Hubble

Long-term relationships with your customers are necessary for a profitable business. In the eCommerce space, customer loyalty is the strongest force that attracts success. And building loyalty requires brands to create positive first and last impressions.

Product delivery is the last point of interaction your customers will have with your brand and your last chance to create a remarkable impression, so make it count.

In a competitive playing field such as the retail market, you’re up against dozens of brands offering the same products/services. What distinguishes you from the competition (and what tugs your customers back) is the ‘wow factor’ you deliver.

You might have a groundbreaking product that can solve your customers’ problems, but it’s tough to leverage on this if you don’t offer them a unique unboxing experience. And you can take advantage of an awesome unboxing so you can put your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds.

3. It gives your product the chance to go viral.

Photo by Christian Wiediger

Crafting a memorable unboxing experience entails cost. Justifying the expense may not be easy when your package might only be seen by a limited number of customers. But what if your product has the potential to be seen by a wide range of audiences?

In the social media sphere, this is a real opportunity available for all brands. The topic ‘unboxing’ has a huge following on sites like YouTube. There are channels dedicated to the unboxing of certain products that have earned millions of following.

People just get a kick out of unboxing products. Some of them watch such videos to live vicariously and engage this desire, may it be unboxing the latest iPhone or the newest addition to the Adidas sneakers.

That said, a video of someone unboxing your product can be a way to tap into new markets. The chances of getting viral are endless, so it will serve your brand well to create a rad packaging.


Let your imagination run free when it comes to developing a remarkable unboxing experience. There are many options you can explore that’s consistent with your budget and you can scour the internet for a variety of inspiration.

If you need help with the nitty-gritty work of putting together a great unboxing for your product, from conceptualisation and planning to for the right packaging materials and printing the actual package, we’re here for you. RooCreate specialises in helping businesses create an amazing brand experience for their customers that result in customer loyalty. We also create packaging design boxes for a wide range of products.

For inquiries, call us at +61 467 057 640 (Wollongong) or (206) 480 1137 (Seattle). You can also send us an instant message.

Moulded pulp cardboard – the latest material in eco design

Truth be told, sustainable design isn’t always about developing new materials. Often, it’s about utilising what we already have in new and creative ways. That’s why we’re calling moulded pulp – the material used to make the humble egg carton – the latest in eco design.

Moulded pulp is manufactured using recycled paper and cardboard, making it a smart, simple and sustainable packaging option for any business looking to minimise its environmental impact. And, while the humble egg carton may not necessarily look the part, we’ve been sure to elevate this age-old material into something truly eye catching. Our eco clamshell boxes, made using moulded pulp from recycled cardboard, are the ultimate packaging solution for the brand that cares about both ethics and aesthetics. So what makes moulded pulp such a great packaging option? And how have we managed to take it from design zero to design hero? Let’s find out…

  1. It’s made with recycled materials.

Choosing packaging that’s made from recycled material is far less resource-intensive than packaging that uses virgin materials. It not only saves trees, but also requires far less water and energy. Packaging made from recycled paper and cardboard also produces up to 90% less by-products such as chemical wastes. Rest assured, our eco clamshell boxes are made using recycled cardboard and are chlorine-free.  

  1. It’s 100% recyclable.

Sadly, we live in a world where convenience trumps consciousness, which may well explain the the “single use” mindset that many of us operate in. Brands that are looking to augment their track record with the planet must think about their products’ journey from start to end. While non-recyclable products will spend the rest of their days in landfill (and probably outlive the people that created them) recyclable packaging can be given new life – over and over and over again. In fact, cardboard and paper can usually be recycled up to eight times before the fibres are too weak to recycle again. At this stage, the materials can be turned into compost where they will break down naturally. Our eco clamshell boxes can be recycled or even re-purposed at the end of their life. (They are pretty cute, after all!)

  1. Seriously good looking.

Sustainable packaging has come a long way in recent times. As designers experiment with new and innovative materials, we’re seeing more and more designs that showcase exactly what sustainable materials are capable of. Thankfully, the brown box is no longer the only packaging option for the environmentally conscious brand! With a 285GSM paperboard and fully customisable sleeve, our clamshell boxes are proof of the fact that good design and sustainability are no longer mutually exclusive. Why not chat to us about including embossed lettering, stickers and/or labels to create the perfect presentation or gift box for your brand?

Is your brand thinking about making the switch to more sustainable packaging? Visit our
products page to find out what we offer, or check out the fact sheet for more information about our clamshell boxes.