So they say PLA is biodegradable. But I still don't know how much biodegradable.

I live in a flat and we have composting trash can in the courtyard. However if I throw PLA in there and it does not decompose, neighbors are gonna be pissed since many of them are intending to use the soil for their balcony flowers.

So can I really compost PLA, or does "biodegradable" just mean it falls apart eventually, eg. in years? And if it decomposes, is it safe to use for plants?

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    $\begingroup$ I doubt they will understand... I would not do this. $\endgroup$ – StarWind0 Feb 15 '17 at 16:13

This question has been asked on just about every forum out there. Here's one example from filabot.com .

The reality however, is that this process will take several hundred years in a typical landfill. To biodegrade, PLA requires a laundry list of conditions to effectively break down. Specifically - oxygen, a temperature of 140+ degrees *[Fahrenheit -- ed note] *, and a 2/3 cocktail of organic substrate. Collectively, these are absent in any scenario outside of industrial composting facilities.

I found similar comments -- tho' with perhaps slightly lower temperatures elsewhere.


PLA products will take up to 6 months to degrade in commercial composting facility. In home composting facility, it may take longer time.

Source: http://www.biogreenchoice.com/category_s/1866.htm

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    $\begingroup$ Based on the way they treat grammar, I have doubts about reliability of that site: How is unique about PLA and how it is different than regular plastic? $\endgroup$ – Tomáš Zato - Reinstate Monica Feb 15 '17 at 15:13

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