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The Faith of NatureWorks 3M Cups (FREE)

NatureWorks designed PLA cups for the 3M Golf Open that they sponsored, but what happened to the cups after use? We found out! This is a FREE article.


NatureWorks has recently changed their marketing strategy.

They decided to sponsor the 2021 3M Golf Open and appoint professional golf player Brendon Todd as their sustainability ambassador.

Here’s the PLA cup designed by NatureWorks for the 3M Golf Open.

That’s what we call “merchandising”.

natureworks 3M cup
Brendon Todd and NatureWorks CEO

LinkedIn Post

When I saw their Linkedin post, I was inspired to ask them what will happen to the PLA cups used at the 3M Golf Open.

You can read the questions and answers below.

NatureWorks social media team replied that the cups were going to be composted in the city of Empire (Minnesota).

When I asked them (twice) if they could share the name of the industrial composting facility …. I got no answer.

You know what I mean when I tell you that I’ve learned to read between the lines.

No answer means no composting.

They didn’t think it through. The cups will not be composted in the town of Empire. The cups will probably be incinerated.

3M Golf Open Sustainability Commitment

On the 3M Golf Open website, we can read the sustainability commitment of the organisers. You will notice that not a single word is said about “composting” PLA.

The 3M Open is committed to doing our part to do more, and we believe it’s our responsibility to lead.

Protecting our shared environment and conserving natural resources ensures a vibrant golfing future for all to enjoy.

For the 2021 tournament, we have teamed up with vendors and partners to help us advance our sustainability initiatives with a focus on waste reduction, and avoiding the landfill where we can.

Final Remarks

  • PFAS

I’m not sure that associating the NatureWorks Brand Ingeo with 3M who’s in the middle of a worldwide PFAS scandal was the best thing to do.

Many compostable on-the-go food packaging are contaminated with PFAS and it’s a big problem. Some people may wrongly believe that PLA is also contaminated with PFAS.

  • Industrial Composting

I think it’s a mistake from NatureWorks for not having thought that one through.

NatureWorks should have made an example:

1 – they should have taken care of the end-of-life management if they were going to distribute PLA cups. It’s a matter of principal; or

2- they should have realised that the cups were not going to be composted and that it may turn into a communication fiasco.

NatureWorks is an American company and they should be professional.

NatureWorks is the world’s largest PLA producer, so imagine if they can’t get their PLA cups composted?

I remain in good faith and will change the content of this article if they provide further info on what happened to the used PLA cups.


Natureworks released a newsletter on 5 Aug 2021, saying:

Compost receptacles were placed in the cabins for proper collection of the compostable cups for diversion from landfill to local composter, Specialized Environmental Technologies (SET).

The link redirects to “The Mulch Store” site, a composting facility. I have contacted the Mulch Store but haven’t received any answer yet.


Link to Linkedin post


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