UBC Undergraduate Research

Waste behaviour in UBC Food Services residence dining halls Cheng, Brian; Cheuk, Joanna; Lau, Stephanie; Liu, Shudan; Ngan, Angel; Uy, Janille


The purpose of this project was to assess how waste is produced and managed at UBC residential dining halls at Place Vanier and Totem Park residences and to provide feedback and recommendations as to how existing waste behaviour practices can be further improved. We developed and addressed the following research question: “What is the current waste management system in the two residential dining halls and how can we improve waste behaviour to reduce total waste produced from these sites”. We surveyed the dining halls and kitchens of these residential areas and assessed the levels of waste production, disposal and sorting activities of pre- and post-consumers at these sites. We also conducted literature reviews and consulted with professionals and waste management experts to obtain more information about how waste are managed at different areas. Pre and post-consumer waste sorting can be optimized through the use of 3-bin system, which is effective in dining halls but contamination must be reduced. Hard plastic are being sold off for charity and soft plastic are being recycled. Space for bin recycling is a limitation for the kitchen area; recycling efforts are made harder due to proximity of recycling stations. Increase usage and Eco-to-go program is a critical factor in waste reduction. Funding of the composting vessel is generated by UBC. Government funding of waste disposal has caused lack of awareness in waste sorting. Current campus waste diversion is at 44%, but a maximal value of 95% can be achieved. This can be achieved through right education, advertisements and incentives. 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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