PLA stands for Polylactic Acid and, as the name shows, it is made out of lactic acid. This is manufactured by transforming dextrose, a naturally occuring sugar that is extracted from sugar rich plants such as corn, sugarcane or beets. This allows this bio-plastic to be the most ecologically friendly material; it is produced from renewable materials and biodegrades in industrial or hot compost piles. Its creation also emits about 68% less greenhouse gases than that of petroleum based plastics. Since PLA is sugar based the emanations produced by melting it are non-toxic and have a pleasant sweet smell.
Because of its properties and the fact that, inside the human body, PLA degrades into harmless lactic acid over a period of 6 months to 2 years, It is also used to make biodegradable food containers.
On the mechanical level, PLA is rigid and has a very low level of flexibility this, it can break if exposed to strong forces.