Do biodegradable food packaging films from agro-food waste pay off? A cost-benefit analysis in the context of Europe

Tassinari, Gianmaria; Bassani, Andrea; Spigno, Giorgia; Soregaroli, Claudio; Drabik, Dušan


Bio-based polymers are increasingly attracting attention as a solution to reducing the consumption of non-renewable resources and curbing the accumulation of fossil-based plastic waste. In this study, we analyze the economics of a new packaging film based on a polylactic acid–polyhydroxybutyrate blend (PLA-PHB), with PHB obtained from agro-industrial residues (potato peels). We model various sizes of biorefineries using the new biotechnology in Europe. For a four-year payback period, which is generally accepted in the industry, the calculated minimum product selling price ranges from 9.7 euros per kilogram to 37.2 euros per kilogram, depending, among other factors, on the production capacity of the biorefinery. We have incorporated the uncertainty over the model parameters in a Monte Carlo simulation and investigated the relative impact of individual factors on the minimum product selling price. Overall, the results indicate that the bio-based feedstock availability is the most influential factor on the profitability of the new biotechnology.