UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into reusable cutlery : a triple bottom line assessment Sehn, Jonathan; Chan, Hong Ting; Chan, Hong Kei; Wang, Brian


Due to a significant amount of waste generated through the use of disposable cutlery at the Student Union Building (SUB), a “green” vending machine has been proposed to reduce waste. This paper discusses the triple bottom line assessment of two reusable cutlery options, a bamboo cutlery set manufactured by Bamboo Studio and a plastic Spork manufactured by Light My Fire. A full investigation into these two products will result in a final recommendation to sell one of two products in “green” vending machines located in the new Student Union Building. The triple bottom line assessment consists of an environmental, economic, and social evaluation. The environmental indicators include the materials used, transportation, energy consumption, and compostability. The economic assessment consists of a financial cost analysis while the social assessment discusses the ethical and human rights implications, social impacts of the selected product on future SUB users, and the products ability to raise awareness of sustainability. Furthermore, we conducted a small-scale student survey. Due to the limited surveyed population, the findings may not reflect the overall outlook of the entire student population. This report presents the results of the triple bottom line assessment of the two selected brands, which indicates that the bamboo cutlery is preferable considering the environmental and social aspects. Conclusively several recommendations were provided including the discontinuation of the supply of all disposable utensils at the SUB, the Bamboo Studio Cutlery set as the retail product, and the price to be set to $1.50. 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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