UBC Graduate Research

Campus Food Delivery : GHG Assessment : Accelerate Yamamoto, Jessica; Harris, Natalie; Benetton, Danie; Dhaundiyal, Mansi


This project aims to quantify the environmental impacts of the food delivery industry on UBC campus in line with the UBC Food Services and UBC SEEDS Sustainability Program Food System Project objectives. Part 2 of this project is conducted by UBC ESW to determine the global warming potential (GWP) of food delivery orders to on-campus residences and explore recommendations for less GHG-intensive alternatives. Data was collected in Part 1 of this project by the CHBE 220 students encompassing the data and time, residences, restaurants and vehicle types for food delivery orders. Most orders were delivered between 5:30 and 7:30PM with the majority of orders on Friday, followed by Wednesday, with Marine Drive encompassing the bulk of orders. The majority of orders are from on-campus restaurants with the majority of orders from McDonalds (16%, 25 orders total) and the average distance per order being 3.8km and the most used vehicle type being gas vehicles (64%). Much of the packaging used for food delivery orders are plastic or paper plastic containers with an Australian study showing the GWP per container to be roughly equivalent to 1 km of travel by car. It is also more common for online food orders to be discarded due to portion size, taste, or to meet a minimum order amount, which results in more food waste. The average GWP per order is estimated as 0.65 kg CO₂ eq using emissions factors for gas vehicles, hybrid vehicles and motorcycles and for an average total of 470 orders per day where the restaurant is known. For all total orders, the average GWP is 0.79 kg CO₂ eq per order. Future recommendations for this study include surveying non-residence buildings as well as increasing the time periods of the study and more rigorous inclusion of vehicle type, make and model to better determine associated GHG emissions. Some recommendations to reduce GHG emissions include designated pick-up locations for food delivery orders to reduce convenience, lower vehicle distance traveled, and facilitate multi-order deliveries. It is also recommended to explore a UBC-run delivery service for on-campus restaurants and order-ahead services to facilitate lower emission delivery options such as cycling. 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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