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The Annual NatureWorks ‘3M Open’ Greenwashing Circus (FREE)

I've received a few questions from readers in the last couple of days if PLA contained PFAS. Why do I get those PFAS questions at the same time? I realised it was because the "3M Open" golf tournament took place recently. This is a FREE article.

3M Open, Natureworks and PFAS

Let me resume the situation:

3M is infamously known to be related with the production of PFAS and has been in the middle of a worldwide PFAS scandal (one of them being the Belgium 3M PFAS scandal)

NatureWorks is a sponsor of the ‘3M Open’ golf tournament so readers make the connection between PFAS and NatureWorks; which is normal.

The answer is:

I don’t think NatureWorks currently uses PFAS for their PLA packaging, however it may have been different in the past. Maybe there are other PLA producers using PFAS to make PLA packaging waterproof and fat proof.

NatureWorks and 3M Open

NatureWorks is a sponsor of the 3M Open. In return, the 3M Open golf tournament uses PLA cups and tableware at the event.

Then NatureWorks promotes the “3M Open” as a test case for Ingeo (the PLA brand of NatureWorks) PLA compostable plastic cups and plates. I’m almost certain that the 3M Open wouldn’t use Ingeo PLA cups and packaging if NatureWorks wasn’t a sponsor.

But then again … naming a Golf Tournament “3M Open” is not the most clever thing to do when it comes to promoting “sustainable” practices. 3M is everything except sustainable.

Green Sports Alliance

Firstly, we have “Green Sports Alliance” promoting the fact that the 3M Open uses NaturesWorks PLA packaging.

  • Play the video (Linkedin Post from NatureWorks)

But then again, NatureWorks is a sponsor of the Green Sport Alliance.


  • Play the video (Linkedin Post from NatureWorks)

One of the things that strikes me from what the NatureWorks marketing person said in the video here above was that …. PLA compostable plastic cups and plates diverts food waste from the landfill.

First remark: this argument doesn’t count for “cups” because nobody empties the liquid content of cups in the waste, recycling or compost bins; we usually empty the liquid content of a cup in the sink. But maybe at the NatureWorks office, they do empty their cups in the compost bin.

Second remark: in the video you can see someone throwing the PLA packaging with lettuce and veggies in the compost bin. You see how the lettuce and veggies slides from the PLA packaging. The PLA packaging looks perfectly clean afterwards but still they throw the PLA packaging in the compost bin. Why the need to throw the clean (uncontaminated) PLA packaging in the compost bin? They could have separated both: they could have thrown the lettuce and veggies in the compost bin and the PLA packaging in another bin for recycling or reuse. The initial sales proposition for PLA packaging was that food packaging gets contaminated or dirty with food and that it’s impossible to separate the packaging from the food. Well, here you can clearly see that it’s not the case. The packaging is perfectly clean and there’s no need to dump it in the compost bin.

Third remark: look at the ratio between ‘food waste’ and ‘PLA packaging’: there’s more PLA packaging than food waste … so at the end of the tunnel, the compost bins at the 3M Open had more PLA packaging than food waste. Great job!

Fourth remark: Avoiding food waste ending up in landfill doesn’t have to do with PLA packaging but with waste management. We need to have green, kitchen and food waste collected separately by the local authorities. Let me re-phrase this: Using PLA packaging on itself doesn’t change the fact that food waste ends up or doesn’t end up in the landfill; separate waste stream collection does.

Fifth remark: food waste that makes it into landfills will degrade and generate methane…. because its biomass. Well, the same applies to PLA that is also made from biomass… except for the little fossil-based add-up. When PLA makes it to the landfill it will also generate methane.

Sixth remark: last year, I’ve contacted the industrial composter that is supposed to process the green waste from the 3M Open. I asked them: do you accept and process PLA food packaging at your composting facility? Well, I’ve never received an answer. So the possibility exists that the PLA packaging collected from the 3M Open is incinerated or transported to a facility on the other side of the country… which is not good for the carbon footprint.


  • Play the video (Linkedin Post from NatureWorks)

The marketing says: nature builds things from CO2 and so do we. I though PLA was made from corn?

BASF is another 3M Open sponsor

I looked at the sponsor page of the 3M Open, and was astonished to see BASF:

BASF, the company that poisons our soils with PBAT and wants us to eat plastic.

BASF the company who used ashes from the victims of the German concentration camps as compost and fertilisers PBAT and the Third Reich Connections (FREE)


I’m really not convinced that the 3M Open is sustainable; I think it’s just corporate greenwashing.

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