Acronym and details:   PLA, made from corn starch

Group:   thermoplastic

Developed:   since 2000

Trade names:   NatureWorks; Plantic

Manufacturing process:   all

Cost:   medium

Colour:   any

Transparency:   transparent to opaque

Rigidity:   rigid to flexible

Feel:   varies

Smell:   none

Other:   made from renewable resources

Typical uses:   disposable plates and cutlery, trays in confectionary industry, but suitable for anything from toys to car parts

Degradation:   intended to biodegrade; crucial to keep it dry