UBC Graduate Research

AMS catering service : drop off model Abhishek, Shah; Al-Jawadi, Zaid; Lu, Wayne; Brosig, Arturo; Zishuai, Zhang


The UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS) provides catering services on campus. Wanting to move towards becoming more sustainable, they were looking for potential products out in the market which would eventually help them shift towards using single-use products and phasing out the China. Part of the problem description was to find either recyclable or compostable utensils serving to various products such as containers, cups, lids, wraps, cutlery, dispensers, etc. The products need to meet the criteria of functionality, sharpness and competitiveness, not deteriorate the food consumption experience, sturdiness, use of as less packaging as possible and visual appeal. The following are the compostable products chosen with their reasoning: Container: Stalkmarket brand, 2-partition section, made from sugarcane fiber, sturdy, maintains food consumption experience (impermeable and non-toxic), $26/100 containers Hot Drink Cups: World Centric brand, heat resistant up to 200deg F, cups made out of three lines of compostable hot paper made out of plants, FSC, BPI certified, $12.50/100 cups Cold Drink Cups: Jaya brand, passed ASTM D6400 standards, polished look, made from natural sustainable resource, $9.50/100 cups Lids: Jaya brand, made from corn, user friendly, fully degrades when composted, $4.50/100 lids Wraps: Natural Kraft brand, FDA approved, microwaveable and freezer safe, does not deteriorate the food consumption experience, $2.10/100 units Cutlery: Etsy brand, lowest cost option, USDA,CFIA approved, made from FSC certified birch wood, sturdy and visually appealing, $46/100 sets Stirrer: RY brand, made from sustainable beach wood, good for both cold or hot drinks, does not discolour or impair taste of the beverage, uses 50% less packaging than before, $2.30/100 sticks Beverage Dispenser: Kraft brand, user friendly, one piece, lightweight and insulates beverages for up to 3 hours, $11.63/dispenser Coffee Take out Container: Kraft brand, offers insulation for up to 3 hours, one piece, lightweight and compatible with other carafe systems, $3.91 per container. The following are the recyclable products’ brands and materials of use for each utensil chosen: Three brands were chosen: Eco-Products, Solo Cup and The WEBstaurant store Cold drink cups and lids: Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Hot drink cups: Paper; Lids: Polystyrene (PS) Stirrer and Cutlery: Polypropylene (PP) Personal Food container: RPET, PP. Considering the two options and assessing the graphs comparing the costs of recyclables with the compostable option, there is no clear distinction between which one to use. The major consideration of selecting the compostable products however, would be that the user is not required to segregate the food items from the products itself, thus making the disposable process much more effective and ensuring that the consumer has done their part. As part of the recommendations, it would be nice to provide bio-degradable garbage bags as they promote single stream of waste disposal. Additionally, by considering for FIFO (First In First Out) approach, it would ensure that the products that came in first, would be used up first and sent out for composting first. Providing organic trays and plates with the meal would also be valuable. If opting for the recyclables, we recommend that the client implement the products from The WEBstaurant Store as it offers the lowest per unit cost and it is also recommended to try to implement something other than polystyrene for the lids as this material is non-recyclable. No matter what option is implemented, consideration towards shifting to either is a step forward toward becoming more sustainable. This would save the client time by not having to pick up the products after use and, more importantly, would offer an environmentally friendly option. People often do as they are told when given incentives to do so, however the incentives will have to look promising for people to consider taking the time and doing their part.

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