UBC Graduate Research

Reducing Single-Use Plastic Cup Waste at Events Held in the Engineering Student Centre (ESC) Martin, Alexandra; Stoicheff, Chris; McDonnell, Denby; Park, Heather; Dilling-Hansen, Rasmus


The UBC SEEDS Program introduced students to the client, the Engineering Undergraduate Society (“EUS”), on January 3, 2019. From the list of sustainability concerns highlighted, it was determined the team would be addressing the principle client concern of single use plastic cup waste. [Client Concern] Events hosted at the EUS student building are resulting in the disposal of a significant volume of single-use plastic cups. The EUS is seeking policy solutions to reduce the number of single-use plastic cups disposed across all event-types. [Actions taken] The student team undertook preliminary research to assess the status of the singleuse plastics disposal problem. This included: conducting stakeholder interviews, reviewing current EUS contracts and related policy regulation, and attending two EUS events of varying size and duration to observe event participant behavior and construct a sample baseline of cup use. [Deliverable Content] As a part of the final report, the student team has produced recommendations for immediate action by EUS as well as a detailed pilot project design for use by the EUS Sustainability Council to evaluate longer-term, more intensive solutions. 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.”

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