UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into waste-reducing vending products : office supplies Tan, Hui; Li, James; Liu, Joey; Yu, Aobo; Xie, Root


This report investigates the plan to install vending machines that sells re-usable office supplies on UBC campus. The vending machines will provide students with easy access to green office supplies. Extensive primary and secondary researches was performed to examine the impacts of existing office supplies have on the environment as well as the implications of introducing re-usable office supplies to the campus. This report focuses on three commonly used office supplies: staplers, batteries, and disposable pens. Research has revealed that existing office supplies used on campus have profound negative impacts on the environment. Some of the negative impacts include consumption of steel and coal, emission of air pollutants, and emissions of toxic compounds. To better assess the feasibility of selling re-usable office supplies in vending machines, triple –bottom-line assessment was conducted to evaluate the environmental, social, and economical aspects of each of the three office supplies. For environmental aspects, research indicated that all three office supplies help to mitigate some of the environmental problems associated with existing office supplies. From a social perspective, results from student surveys indicated that most students on campus were not aware of the existence of the three re-usable office supplies but most of the students who took the surveys have responded in favor of using these three office supplies once they have learned the benefits. For economical aspect, research has shown that all three reusable office supplies are equally priced as the existing office supplies and in the long term, are cheaper than the existing office supplies. The re-usable office supplies are environmentally friendly, potentially widely acceptable, and economical to implement in vending machines on UBC campus. This report strongly recommends UBC AMS to installing vending machines on campus that sells these office supplies. 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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