UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into the feasibility of wheat versus wood fibre paper for UBC Cheung, Wing Cho; Nam, Jeffrey; Yen, Chung-Chih (Kenny)


The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a leader on sustainability and is currently investigating the feasibility of using wheat fibre paper in lieu of the current 30% post consumer waste wood fibre paper. To examine this matter, a triple bottom line assessment for has been conducted. The triple bottom line assessment includes the investigation of social, environmental, as well as economic aspects of the use of both types of paper through various indicators for each category such as labour conditions, carbon emissions, and cost differences. Through extensive research from sources such as journal articles, online materials and other published reports, surveying users for an evaluation of the performance of both types of paper, as well as interviewing experts in the production of the wheat fibre paper, a significant amount of information and useful data has been gathered. From the investigation, the following observations can be made. First, the overall social aspects such as labour conditions, social awareness, and local resource distribution of the wheat fibre paper meet all the requirements from UBC’s Supplier Code of Conduct. Second, the ecological footprint of the wheat fibre paper during its entire lifecycle is significantly less than that of the 30% PCW wood fibre paper. Third, replacing wood fibre paper with wheat fibre paper at UBC has minimal economic impact on the local scale. Based on the findings from the investigation, it is determined that the utilization of wheat fibre paper at UBC is viable and that the replacement of 30% PCW wood fibre paper with wheat fibre paper is recommended. 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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