New Company Set to Buy Post-Consumer PLA

California-based Biocor LLC will convert PLA containers back to lactic acid.

March 17, 2010
Recycling Today Staff
Plastics Paper

Biocor LLC, Concord, Calif., has been launched as a company designed to buy, aggregate and process post-consumer polylactic acid (PLA), the plant-based bioplastic that has been used to make food trays, cups and bottles.

In a news release, Biocor says it will “capitalize on the ease with which PLA can be converted back to its original lactic acid feedstock for subsequent use in a variety of existing end markets.”

On its Web site, Biocor says it has “received start-up funding from a broad set of interested investors,” an indication that PLA product manufacturers, consumer product companies and retailers may be helping to fund the venture.

According to Biocor Executive Director Mike Centers, Biocor will pay recyclers “an economically attractive price” for PLA in any packaging format and work with recyclers to achieve efficient separation of post-consumer PLA from other plastics. The new firm “will also collaborate on PLA recycling pilot projects and work with federal, state, and municipal entities, non-governmental organizations, consumer groups, and recycling organizations,” according to its news release.

“Greater sustainability in plastic packaging depends on decreasing the carbon footprint of the plastics used and on recapturing and re-using a greater percentage of post-consumer packaging,” says Centers. “I’ve joined Biocor LLC with the intent of making a business out of buying the post-consumer PLA already out there in the market. I believe the economics of selling recycled PLA to a variety of lactic acid end markets are compelling. The Biocor business will conserve nonrenewable resources, lower carbon emissions, and reduce packaging waste.”

Biocore says its primary focus will be on supplying recycled PLA to those interested in lactic acid uses, although PLA can also be commercially composted and used for soil enrichment.

Centers is a 20-year recycling industry veteran and founder of Titus Maintenance and Installations Services Inc., a company that installs and maintains equipment at material recovery facilities (MRFs) in the western United States. He also was president of CMMA LLC, a California-based consulting services provider. While president of CMMA, Centers advised on the California Bottle Bill and Assembly Bill 32, wrote grants for several single-stream MRFs in California, and provided input to California’s Department of Conservation and the California chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. Centers has also been in general management positions with Tomra Pacific in Fremont, Calif., Strategic Materials Inc. of Hayward, Calif., and Allwaste Environmental Services of Houston.

Biocor says it is currently hiring staff and scaling up its infrastructure to address the North American market. In the meantime, Centers says that Biocor has already been approached by several parties eager to sell post-industrial and post-consumer PLA and is in the process of assessing those initial supplies.

More information on the new effort can be found at