FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

You can buy them online or while you’re here, find a retailer that stocks them.

We’re based in Penrose, Auckland. As with all plastics in New Zealand, the base resin is imported but the beans are manufactured in Auckland. There are some companies looking at the potential to set up PLA production facilities here in NZ, potentially using waste wood as a feedstock, and when we can, we will source our raw material locally.

Please contact us if you are based outside of New Zealand and want to purchase EcoBeans. We’d be more than happy to help.

Because of their composition and larger size, EcoBeans tend to last well in bean bags and, in our experience do not require regular refilling or topping up of the bags.

No. To degrade, they require a catalyst set of conditions and ambient conditions will not be hot enough to start this process. If they spill in the garden, or anywhere else, they do need to be cleaned up. However, as our beans are much larger than traditional polystyrene beads, they are much easier to see and to pick up.

Safety & Usage

EcoBeans contain nothing harmful, with no petrochemical compounds, and give off no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). However, they are not intended for ingestion and should not be consumed.

Small children can suffocate if bean bag filling is swallowed or inhaled, and we do not recommend a bean bag as a safe sleeping surface for infants under 12 months of age.

EcoBeans are made from PLA (Poly lactic acid) a bio-based resin. PLA is made by extracting starch from plants, in this case enzymes are then added to convert the glucose to dextrose via a process called hydrolysis.

Microorganisms then ferment this dextrose into lactic acid which is then converted to lactide. Through a polymerisation process, the lactide is used to make PLA which is one of the most widely used bio-based polymers in the world today.

Yes, you can, but should you need to dispose of your fill, it will need to go in to landfill as it is mixed with polystyrene. We cannot take the product back if it is mixed with another substance.

PLA can be industrially composted, if commercial facilities are available, which means that, when exposed to the right set of conditions, the EcoBeans will compost down safely into usable compost. This will not happen in your bean bag as the required set of conditions will not be reached.

As bio-based plastics are still fairly new and volumes are low, there is only limited access to industrial composting in NZ, although this is growing. You need to ensure that a facility will accept PLA before taking EcoBeans to them. EcoBeans cannot currently be included in either your recycling bin or your council composting bin. To ensure that EcoBeans are correctly disposed of, we will take back your old EcoBeans, provided they are clean and not contaminated with other materials such as polystyrene. This is very important as commercial composting facilities must have confidence they are only receiving PLA for composting. As you know, polystyrene cannot be composted. EcoBeans can also be safely incinerated. Please contact us if you need to dispose of your beans.

For more information, visit Biopolymer Network Ltd and check out this link for a fascinating look at a small commercial composting facility.

No, PLA can only be industrially composted. A home compost set-up will not likely reach the required combination of conditions to initiate the degradation process.

Yes, absolutely. EcoBeans are perfect for outdoor bean bags. It’s no problem at all if the beads get wet. Ambient conditions will not cause them to degrade.

No. Both products are made from starch, but pop starch is a completely different product with quite different properties. For example, pop starch will quickly degrade if it is wet which makes it unsuitable for bean bag fill.

They do have some static, but it tends to be far less than more traditional types of fill. The EcoBeans flow cleanly out of our paper packaging making bean bag filling a much easier task.