UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into the sustainability of liquid sugar in comparison to granulated packaged sugar Kwok, Pui Yan (Denise); Zhao, Dera; Holdijk, Sarah


Sustainable development requires the smart utilization of resources and balancing the needs of the community and the businesses that are invested in the project. In an effort to make UBC a more sustainable university, UBC Food Services (UBCFS) has switched to liquid sugar pumps as a replacement for single serving package of regular dry sugar in key locations on campus. This report will focus on the research into the impact of the switch. A detailed triple bottom-line assessment of whether liquid sugar is actually more sustainable is reported here. In this triple bottom-line assessment the social, environmental and economic implications of this switched were investigated. Some findings that resulted from this research where that liquid sugar is significantly more expensive then the single serving sugar packets, the plastic containers of the liquid sugar are more environmentally sustainable and the clients and staff of UBCFS locations with the liquid sugar pumps enjoy the convenience and cleanliness of the liquid sugar pumps. In the end, even though liquid sugar appears to be more environmentally and socially sustainable, it is not very feasible economically because of the expensive costs associated with the switch. However, the environmental and social benefits are quite significant and some recommendations to reduce the cost of the switch are presented. 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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