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UBC Food System Project : food waste management : the hot beverage cup Ching, Vinci; Gazzola, Paul; Juzkow, Karen; Kan, Kenrick; Lin, Tina; Wark, Caroline; Yeung, Eman Apr 3, 2002

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UBC Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS) Student Report       Ubc Food System Project: Food Waste Management – The Hot Beverage Cup  Vinci Ching, Paul Gazzola, Karen Juzkow, Kenrick Kan, Tina Lin, Caroline Wark, Eman Yeung  University of British Columbia AGSC 450 April 3, 2002           Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report”.     AGSC 450  UBC FOOD SYSTEM PROJECT: FOOD WASTE MANAGEMENT –  THE HOT BEVERAGE CUP  GROUP 8 VINCI CHING PAUL GAZZOLA KAREN JUZKOW KENRICK KAN TINA LIN CAROLINE WARK EMAN YEUNG  APRIL 3, 2002   ABSTRACT T hi s report aims to eva lua t e the curre nt prac t ic e s of wast e mana ge m e nt at UBC and to foc us on the reduct i on of wast e .  The disposa bl e hot beve ra ge cup is one major component of the 12 tonne s of wast e produced at UBC per day, and it is used to represent UBC’s waste problem.  ) Wa st e ma nagement programs like “WasteFree UBC” have been implemented to encourage c onsum e rs to reduc e the amount of wast e produced.  A surve y was conduc t e d by our group to dete rm i ne tre nds assoc ia te d with the purc ha se of hot beve ra ge s.  To mea sure the sust a i na bi li t y of wast e mana ge me nt , mea sura ble ecol ogi ca l , soc i al , and econom i c indi ca tors have bee n deve l ope d.  Base d upon the resul t s of our surve y and rese a rc h, we have inc l ude d rec om me ndat i ons and resea rc h alte rna ti ve s for the future rega rding wast e mana ge me nt at UBC.   Introduction  Curre ntl y, the Gre a te r Vanc ouve r Regi on Dist ri ct (GVRD) is produc i ng upwa rds of 2.7 mill i on tonne s of garba ge per yea r, all of whic h is ente ri ng our fini t e landfi l l s (GVRD, 2002).  These wast e sites const i tut e a large are a of land in th e dist ric t , and if this situa t i on cont i nue s, it will lea d to seri ous dama ge to our envi ronm e nt . As the popul at i on grows exponent i al l y in the dist ri ct , we are quic kl y runni ng out of the land and natural resourc e s tha t are nece ssa ry to sust a i n our comm uni t y.   As part of the GVRD, the Unive rsi t y of Brit i sh Colum bi a (UBC) cont ri bute s a consi de ra ble amount of garbage to the district’s landfill.  Approximately 12 tonnes of garbage are produced each day by the UBC comm unit y, and the se wast e s are export ed and rea ll oca t ed to landfil l s off campus (Wa st e Fre e UBC, 2002).  Even though the se waste s are not dispose d of ph ysi c a l l y on campus, the UBC comm uni t y stil l remai ns responsi ble for th e wast e s it produce s and the pote nt i al dama ge it crea t e s.  The UBC Comm unit y sho ul d stri ve to reduc e the amount of waste s on campus, and, in orde r to achie ve this goa l , a sust a i na ble waste mana ge me nt syst e m should be esta bli she d and impl em e nte d.    2  In gene ra l , a susta i nabl e syst e m shoul d be via bl e for an exte n si ve period of time , and it shoul d “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Bomke, 2000).  Since UBC’s current practices in waste management do not meet the requirements of a sust a i na ble syst e m , we belie ve it is nec e ssa ry to alte r the se prac t ic e s.  A sust a i na bl e waste mana ge m e nt syst e m shoul d consi de r both the short -te rm and long-t e rm conse que nce s of its poli ci e s and actions, and it shoul d work towa rds maint a i ni ng or eve n improvi ng the h ea l t h and safe t y of curre nt and future gene ra t i ons, as well as our envi ronme nt .   Susta i na bl e wast e mana ge m e nt at UBC rema i ns a compli ca te d and intri ca t e probl e m, one that requi re s inte nse resea rc h from many aspe c t s of the UBC comm unit y. As a mode l of this  syst e m , we have chose n disposa ble pape r cups, whic h are current l y being use d to dispe nse beve ra ge s suc h as coffe e , tea , and hot choc ol at e , as a repre se nt at i ve of the curre nt wast e prac t ic e s at UBC. In the 2000/ 2001 yea r, there were approxim at e l y 38,621 st ude nt s, full -t i me fac ul t y and non -fa c ult y empl oye e s at UBC (UBC Depa rtm e nt of Pla nt Ope ra t i ons, 2001).  If eac h of the se indi vi dua ls purc ha se d a cup of coffe e eve r y da y, for 261 work i ng days, this woul d total 164,564,081 cups of coffe e purc ha se d per yea r. Eight e e n perc e nt of the garba ge produc e d at UBC is compose d of disposa bl e cont a ine rs, and hot beve ra ge cups repre se nt a large port i on of this waste (Wa st e Fre e UBC, 2002).  Our main obje ct i ve in writ i ng this report is to dete rmi ne the curre nt methods of wast e reduc ti on on campus, and how these methods can be change d to make wast e mana ge me nt more sust a i na ble at UBC. We beli e ve tha t by taki ng a sma l l ste p and foc usi ng on one t ype of waste , name l y hot beve ra ge cups, we can more effe c t i ve l y ana l yz e the curre nt p ra ct i ce s and make rec om me ndat i ons to prom ote a more susta i nable wast e mana ge m e nt syst e m .  In this report , we will first expl ai n the unde rl yi ng value assum pt i ons of this proj e ct .  Secondl y, we will desc ri be the curre nt pra c ti ce s in waste mana ge m e nt at UBC, foc usi ng on disposa ble hot beve ra ge cups.  Thirdl y, we will pre se nt our rese a rc h methods and resul t s, and, by usin g sust a i na bi li t y indi c a t ors, we will eva l ua te the curre nt prac t ic e s of wast e mana gem e nt of the se cups.  Last l y, we will provi de our rec om m enda ti ons to reduce disposa ble cont ai ne r wast e at UBC.  3        Underlying value assumptions Our group dec i de d to take an ecol ogi c a l approac h to ana l yze the probl e m of wast e mana ge m e nt withi n the UBC food syst e m .  We belie ve tha t wast e mana ge m e nt at UBC doe s not only affe c t the UBC communi t y, but the comm uni ti e s outsi de campus as well . A sust a i na ble wast e mana ge m e nt syst e m shoul d consi de r eve r y aspe c t tha t relat e s to the syst e m as a whol e , whic h inc l ude s the envi ronm e nta l impac t s of the syst e m .   The imprope r mana ge m e nt of disposa bl e wast e at UBC is large l y due to the numbe r of consum e rs tha t choose conve nie nce ove r the well -be i ng of the envi ronm e nt . It is our belie f tha t the rea son consume rs choose to purc ha se disposa bl e cups is bec a use of the cups aest he ti c qua li t y and for persona l conve nie nc e .  For example, Andrew Parr, director of UBC Food Services, stated that “customers prefer using paper cups, probably due to the Starbucks phenomenon” (Parr, 2002). Our fear is t ha t the se indi vi dual s are not consi de ri ng the nega ti ve impa ct the y are havi ng on the envi ronm e nt due to the amount of wast e gene rat e d from the se disposa bl e cups.   Sinc e the dec i si on to use disposa bl e cups is base d upon indi vi dua l choic e , our rec omm e nda ti o ns for the future are gea red towa rds indi vi dual s.  We hope tha t in the future , communi t y -ba se d approache s will be desi gne d to incre ase the awa re ne ss of consum e rs rega rdi ng the envi ronm e nta l impa ct s of imprope r wast e mana ge me nt . We beli e ve tha t wast e ma na ge m e nt is a subs yst e m withi n the UBC food syst e m .  The compone nt s of this subs yst e m tha t are import a nt to our group are the consum e rs, the wast e produc e d on campus, the landfill (where UBC waste is deposited), and the land that ultimately produces UBC’s food.  In term s of the entire UBC food syst e m , we are support e rs of loc al food sys t e m s tha t can provi de nutri ti ous food tha t is gro wn loc a ll y ( wit hi n the GVRD) to the UBC comm unit y.  We also beli e ve tha t food  4  sa fe t y and food sec uri t y are import a nt aspec t s of the food syst e m beca use without the m , the hea lt h of the UBC comm unit y ma y be comprom i se d.  Ultim a te l y, we want the UBC food syst e m to provi de food that is acce ssi ble , safe , and nutri t i ous for all and we belie ve tha t bett e r waste mana ge m e nt pra ct i ce s, su c h as reduci ng the amount of wast e produc e d on campus, is a step towa rds provi di ng food in this capa ci t y.   Current UBC Practices in Waste Management  Although the re are a numbe r of store s       t hroughout the UBC campus tha t sell a vari e t y of ite m s, the re is one product whose popula ri t y neve r decl i ne s.  Coffe e is sold at almost eve ry loc a ti on at UBC, and is gene ra l l y dispe nse d in paper disposa bl e cups. The Wast e Mana ge m e nt divi si on of UBC impose d a progra m in the y ea r 2000 enti tl e d “WasteFree UBC,” in order to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable mug to school, rather than purc ha se a disposa ble mug eve r y da y.  The inc e ntive tha t is offe re d is a decre a se in the purc ha se pri ce by $0.15 for eve r y cup of coff ee.  UBC Food Services has also initiated “happy hours,” when, on certain days of the mont h, indi vi dual s who bri ng the i r own mug to school will rec ei ve a fre e cup of coffe e from part ic i pa t ing outl e t s.  Unfort unat e l y, the se have not had a gre at effe c t on th e numbe r of disposa ble coffe e cups purc ha se d dail y on campus.  In a surve y done by UBC Food Servi c e s on the amount of coffe e cups purc ha se d in the mont h of Octobe r, 2001, ove r 40,765 cups of coffe e were purc ha se d from store s assoc i at e d with UBC Foo d Servi c e s (Azi z, pers.c om .).  Of this numbe r, only 4, 476 cups were purc ha se d from indi vi dua l s tha t brought the i r own mug (Azi z, pers.c om .).  Anot he r opti on provi de d by the Fo od Services outlets are china cups, or “for here” mugs.  In the same month, only 514 stu de nt s purc ha se d the se mugs, eve n though the y were also sold at a reduc t i on of 15 cent s in price (Azi z, pers.c om .).  Although the concept of a “WasteFree UBC,” is ideal, one can’t help wonder why these paper cups can’t be recycled like so many other food -a s soc i a te d produc t s in the Lowe r Mainla nd.  The rea son is that eac h paper coffe e cup has a prot ec ti ve moist ure -re sist a nt coa ti ng tha t is adde d duri ng produc t i on, and sinc e the coa ti ng is not rec yc l a bl e , the proc e ssi ng plant s will not acc e pt the m (Moffi t , 200 2).  The only  5  a c ce pta ble way to rec yc l e the se cups woul d be if a munic i pa li t y chose to buil d a prope r proce ssi ng pla nt tha t coul d mana ge the se cups.  At pre se nt , the city of Vanc ouve r will rec yc l e pla st ic milk jugs, but will not take milk cart ons, nor tetr a pa k milk and juic e cont ai ne rs (Azi z, pers.c om .).  These produc t s conta i n more tha n one materi al (ie . paper and wax), and the re fore cannot be rec yc l e d in the curre nt proce ssi ng pla nt s.   Survey Evaluation A surve y was conduc te d by our group pert ai ni ng to the purc ha se of hot beve rage cups at  UBC.  The surve y responde nt s inc l ude d 76 UBC student s, profe ssors and relat e d people on campus [ Appe ndi x 1].  The surve y resul t s are shown in Tabl e s and Figure s 1, 2 and 3 in Appe ndi c e s 2 and 3. Ove ra ll , most responde nt s purc ha se at lea st one hot beve ra ge from UBC campus per week.  Over thre e qua rte rs of the responde nt s real i ze d tha t the re is  a disc ount invol ve d if the y bri n g reusa bl e mugs to school , but 72 perce nt of the responde nt s still chose to purc ha se disposabl e cup s.  Our resul t s exhi bi te d th a t the $0.15 pric e disc ount did not take prece de nc e ove r the conve nie nc e of a disposa bl e cup.   Sustainability Indicators i. Ecological Indicator T he perce nt reduc ti on of disposa ble garba ge at UBC ove r time provi de s an indic a t or  of the ecol ogi ca l sust a ina bil it y of the Wast e Mana ge m e nt syst e m .  We beli e ve that the amount of wast e produc e d on UBC campus can have an impa ct on the loc al ecosyst e m espe ci a ll y if spa c e in landfi l l s is bec om i ng limi t e d.  By annua l l y m ea suri ng the reduc ti on in disposa bl e conta i ner wast e on campus, the Wast e Management division of UBC can determine whether the “WasteFree UBC” program is effective.   ii. Social Indicator  The key to wast e reduc tion at UBC is depe nde nt on the educa t i on and awa rene ss of consum e rs. If the Wast e Mana ge me nt divi si on were to count the numbe r of indi vi dua ls tha t purc ha se beve ra ges in  6  re usa ble mugs as compa re d to disposa bl e mugs, the y coul d dete rmi ne the awa re ne ss of the gene ra l UBC publ i c perta i ni ng to the reduc ti on of disposa bl e co nt a i ne r waste . If the numbe r of reusa bl e coffe e mugs doe s not inc rea se ove r time , then the sust a i na bil i t y of the syst e m nee ds to be rec onsi de re d.    iii. Economic Indicator By initiating a “cost -benefit analysis,” the UBC Food System can determine whether t he curre nt “WasteFree UBC” practices are sustainable over the long term.  According to this program, customers can sa ve $0.15 per cup (ie . $60 a yea r) if the y choose to bri ng the i r own mug to school , and the store s save mone y with a reduct i on in the purc h a se of pape r cups. The cost -be ne fi t ana l ysi s allows the store s to dete rm i ne whet he r the progra m is economi ca l l y vi a bl e , in orde r to dete rm i ne if the y can cont i nue to sell coffe e at a reduc e d price. If the outl e t s begi n to lose mone y bec a use of this progra m , the n the Wast e Mana ge m e nt divi si on may nee d to consi de r othe r sust a i na ble opti ons.     Recommendations to the UBC Sustainability Office  The Wast e Mana ge me nt Divi si on of UBC has impl e me nte d many pro gra m s throughout campus tha t addre ss the issue of wast e reduct i on. The se progra m s, although bene fi c ia l , may nee d to be rea ddre sse d in orde r to confi rm tha t the y are minim i zi ng all wast e s at UBC. In term s of food wast e mana ge me nt, it shoul d be mandat ory for all food outl et s, suc h as Pizza Pizza , Subwa y and The B re a d Garde n to part i ci pa t e in reduct i on ince nt i ve s. The se store s are not othe rwi se forc e d to part ic i pa t e bec a use the y are fra nc hi se s and do not fall unde r UBC Fo od Servi c e regul at i ons (Pa rr, 2002).  A large numbe r of cust om e rs flow through the se esta bli shm e nt s and it woul d be highl y bene fi c i al to have them parti c i pa te in contri buti ng to the educa t i on of wast e reduc t ion at UBC.  Othe r rec om me ndat i ons exte nd from the ove ra l l non -pa rti c ipa ti ve action of stude nt s bu yi ng hot beve ra ge s in disposa bl e cups.  As pre vi ousl y disc u sse d, stude nt s are awa re of  the disc ount e d opti on of  7  bri ngi ng a reusa bl e cup to school , yet many choose not to.  To count e r this, seve ra l sugge st i ons have been made:  1) Recyclable hot beverage cups  The hot beve ra ge cups tha t are curre ntl y av a i l a ble on UBC campus are not rec yc l a bl e . The re are some compa ni e s suc h as Sta rbuc ks tha t are worki ng towa rds deve l opi ng a rec yc l a bl e cup and onc e the se produc t s are made ava i l a bl e , UBC food servi c e s shoul d impl em e nt them in the i r store s.    2) Environmental Tax If UBC is goin g to cont inue to serve beve ra ge s in non -recyclable cups, an added “environmental tax” could be implemented on hot beverage cups. This tax, and t he rati ona l behi nd it, shoul d be cle arl y adve rt i se d so cust ome rs are awa re tha t the y are payi ng extra .   3) “Mug Card” UBC Food Services could consider implementing a “Mug Card” that would work like existing bonus cards by offe ri ng a fre e cup of coffe e af te r a certa i n numbe r of purc ha se s. Sinc e a card of this nature alrea dy exist s on campus, the Mug Card coul d offe r a fre e coffe e with fewe r purc ha se s tha n the othe r.  This may encourage those who “sometimes” bring their own mug to bring it more often.    Conclusion  Base d upon our findi ngs, the curre nt progra m s desi gne d to reduce the purc ha se of disposa bl e hot beve ra ge cups on campus do not provi de a large enough consum e r ince nti ve . It is our hope tha t , in the future , alte rna t i ve pra ct i ce s can be desi gne d to reduc e the amount of wast e produc e d and thus ensure the sust a i na bi l it y of the UBC food syst e m .    Recommendations for future research  8  • Foc us on othe r compone nts of wast e produc e d on UBC campus suc h as disposa bl e plat e s, ute nsi l s, soup cont ai ne rs, etc . • Cond uc t surve ys with large r sampl e s size s and include ope n -e nde d que st i ons in orde r to rec ei ve input from the consum e rs as to wha t the y beli e ve can be done to reduce the amount of wast e produc e d on campus. • Conduc t resea rc h on alte rna ti ve s to wast e mana ge m e nt s uc h as rec yc l a bl e cups tha t are also econom i ca ll y fea si bl e . • De ve l op init ia ti ve s to make consum e rs more envi ronm e nt a ll y awa re of whe re the i r wast e is going and the impac t it may have on the i r food syst e m .    9  REFERENCES  1.  Azi z, A. Gene ra l mana ge r of Reta i l an d Fina nce , UBC Food Ser vi c e s. Persona l Comm unic at i on: March 26, 2002.  2.  Bomke , A, Roja s, A and Skura , B. (2000) AGSC 250 – Custom Course Materials . Fac ul t y of Agri c ul t ural Scie nce s, The Unive rsi t y of Brit i sh Colum bi a .   3.  Moffi t , L. City of Vancouver Solid Waste Management Division . Emai l date d: Marc h 27, 2002.   4.  Gre a te r Vanc ouve r Regi ona l Dist ri c t. Garbage and Recycling . http:/ / www.gvrd.bc .c a / se rvi c e s/ ga rba ge / . Acce sse d: Marc h 26, 2002.  5.  Pa rr, A. Director of UBC Food Services . Ema il dated: Marc h 26, 2002.  6.  Pa rr, A. Director of UBC Food Services. “Agricultural Sciences 450 Class Presentation.” Dated: March 6, 2002.  7.  UBC Department of Plant Operations. October 2001. “Building a Sustainable Community”. UBC Waste Management 2000/01 Annual Report  8.  Wa st e fre e UBC. http: // www.wa st e fre e .ubc .c a / wa ste fre e / whic h.htm l . Acc e ssed: Marc h 30, 2002.  9.  Wa st e fre e UBC . http: // www.wa st e fre e .ubc .c a / wa ste fre e / di sposa bl e s.ht m l . Acc e sse d: Marc h 30, 2002.       10  Appendix 1  Survey of hot beverage cups purchases on UBC campus  1. How many cups of hot beverages such as coffee or hot chocolate do you purchase on campus per week?   None: 1 cup: 2 cups: 3 cups: 4 cups: 5 cups: 6 cups or more:  2. If buying hot beverages such as coffee, tea or hot chocolate on campus, do you bring/use your own mug?    Yes:  No:  Sometimes:  3. Did you know that you can get a discount when purchasing hot beverages such as coffee or hot chocolate on campus?  (If yes) How much do you think the discount is?   $0.05: $0.15:  $0.20:  $0.30:  $0.50:  11  Appendix 2  Table 1:   Hot beverage consumption on UBC campus per week Do not purchase  an y hot bever a g e s  25%  Bu y  at least on e  hot beve ra ge per we ek  75%   Table 2: Bring own mug for hot beverages No  70%  Yes  19%  Sometim es  11%   Table 3: Knowledge of the discount associated with bringing own mug and value of the discount Don ’t know about the dis count  28%  Know there is a dis count  72% (63%  $ 0.10 to $ 0.20 discount)     12  Appendix 3  2581211522170510152025300 1 2 3 4 5 6 ormore# of cups/week% Figu re 1:  Hot bev era ge consum pti on on UBC cam pus. 18701101020304050607080Yes No Sometimes% Figu re 2: Usa ge of own mug for hot b ever a ges.  2882021201051015202530N o $0.05 $0.10 $0.15 $0.20 $0.30 $0.50 % Figu re 3: Knowl ed ge of esti mate of the discount associated wit h using own mug.  

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