Chemical Recycling of Polylactic Acid


Executive Summary


A new environmentally friendly process developed at Michigan State University derives clean-use plastics from contaminated Polylactic Acid (PLA). This new method of recycling PLA yields clean-use plastics using inexpensive green solvents and lower temperatures.


Description of Technology


Current chemical recycling of PLA uses toxic solvents at high temperatures to reduce plastics to the lactic acid monomers needed to create clean-use products. MSU researchers have discovered a new method for deriving clean use products from contaminated material. This methodology uses accessible green chemicals and lower temperatures to derive clean-use PLA within 8 days.


Key Benefits

  • Easily implemented; no need to re-tool plant or purchase new equipment
  • Cost-effective process
  • Uses non-toxic chemicals
  • Energy efficient – uses lower temperatures for reaction



  • Food storage containers
  • Utensils
  • Bottles


Patent Status:


Patent Pending


Licensing Rights Available

Full licensing rights available.


Inventors: Dr. Rafael Auras, Fabiola Iniguez-Franco, Dr. Maria Rubino, Herlinda Soto-Valdez, Daniel Holmes, Dr. Susan Selke, Xiaoyi Fang


Tech ID: TEC2017-0009


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University