Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Packaging Science

Committee Member

Dr. Kay Cooksey, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Gregory Batt

Committee Member

Dr. William Bridges


Washington Apples are shipped all over the United States for retail consumption. In order to survive the distribution cycle, the apples need adequate packaging to reduce damage. The two main materials used for the apple trays are expanded polystyrene (EPS) and molded fiber. An industrial switch from Molded Fiber to EPS trays provoked an interest in the difference between the two materials. Testing was required to conclude which tray material, if any, provided better protection for the apples. In order to determine the differences between the two trays, the physical and microbial characteristics were tested. The physical performance of the trays was tested through distribution, drop, and handling testing. A microbial analysis of the condensation was performed to determine the microbial protection that the trays offer. After performing a cost analysis, the EPS trays cost twice as much as the Molded Fiber trays. The testing proved that there is no difference in the physical and microbial protection that the two trays provide for the apples.



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