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Economic Assessment of Corn-based Plastic Packaging Products

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Title: Economic Assessment of Corn-based Plastic Packaging Products
Author: Muntasir, Nafis
Department: Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics
Program: Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics
Advisor: Weersink, Alfons
Abstract: Polylactic acid (PLA) has been proved to be an environmentally viable bioplastic with the potential to replace existing fossil-based plastic materials. Packaging is the biggest application of plastics with food and beverage sector being the biggest end-user market. Thus, this study identified the cost differences of food packaging containers using PLA and other fossil-based resins. Results showed that PLA is an economically viable bioplastic over popular fossil-based plastic materials used for packaging food containers at relatively lower prices of corn than of crude oil. The prices of corn and crude oil, along with percentage share of feedstock cost in resin, share of resin cost in packaging and density of resins played vital roles in determining the cost competitiveness. Since PLA is economically viable for packaging, policy tools such as government grants and loans, tax credits and state procurement can be used to stimulate the PLA-based packaging product market.
Date: 2016-05
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