Polylactic Acid (PLA) Innovation and Remanufacture Program

PLA is a polymer made from corn or other plant starch. As it can be degraded into water and carbon dioxide after use, and requires only a half of the energy to process compared to that of processing ordinary plastic, it is considered as an ideal green material. However, PLA does not degrade under ambient conditions but requires specific temperatures and humidity. When recycled with ordinary plastic materials, it may cause contamination and reduce the reusability of others.

Through the Zero Waste to Landfill project, we found that the recycling practice in Taiwan has not established the market of PLA recycling and reuse, and the compost processing facilities are not popular in Taiwan. This means the PLA is mostly going to incineration after recycling, losing its green natures.

To solve this problem, ASUS worked with suppliers to develop consumer products made from recycled PLA. We recycled waste PLA containers in the headquarters, including cups of cold drinks from Starbucks and from MOS Burger, and turned them into PLA pellets via crushing, rinsing and dyeing. Injection molding was then used to produce small official supplies. Wastes which would be incinerated were turned into new commodities, showing good examples of circular economy.

Other reuse programs:

  • Coffee grounds reuse program: The coffee grounds from the shops and employees in headquarters used to be disposed of and incinerated. When collected and properly dried, they are an ideal deodorant or compost material for potting.
  • Fallen leaves reuse program: The headquarters are deployed with several compost processing zones to collect and transform the twigs and leaves from plant trimming instead of sending to incinerators.
  • Pallet reuse program: The pallets used for transport could be provided to secondhand furniture and carpentry, granting new life to waste materials.