Biobased mulch mat for an ecological way of controlling weeds
- 100% made of renewable resources. The raw material is the biopolymer PLA, made out of plant material only.
- Compostable on long term
- Long lifetime and very UV-stable
- Natural aspect due to mix of biobased fibre and natural fibre
- Effective mulch mat, no need for herbicides
- Compostable on long term after a lifetime of minimum 5 years; the mat will degrade very slowly and will at the end of its lifetime - unlike photodegradable plastics (PP/PET/PE/PA…) - leave NO non-biobased elements in the ground
- Permeable for water and nutrients – micro-organisms in the soil stay active
- Low cost: very UV-stable, so can be left uncovered after installation - installation guidelines to be followed
- Minimal maintenance cost
- Easy to cut & install (installation guidelines to be respected)
Additional: installation guidelines (preparation site - installation mat)
What is PLA?
PLA or Poly Lactic Acid is made from plant material. Starch and plant sugars are used as renewable resource. Today, mainly side and waste streams of the corn industry are used as feedstock.
How is PLA produced? Some chemistry
It all starts with the sun! During the process of the photosynthesis, the leafs of green plants will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. A molecule CO2 is combined with a molecule water to form sugar and oxygen. The molecule oxygen is released back in the atmosphere. The sugar is used as fuel for the plants. Any unused sugar is stored as starch and can be harvested.
Industrially, dextrose (sugar) is created from the harvested plant starch through a process called hydrolysis. Next, microorganism will convert the sugar into lactic acid through fermentation. The PLA polymer is formed either by (1) direct condensation of lactic acid or (2) via the cyclic intermediate lactide through a ring opening process. PLA is formed!