UBC Undergraduate Research

Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games : sustainable food materials & waste procedures Boparai, Gurleen; Lam, Wilford; Lau, Cho Wing; Lee, Ann; Sio, Leng Hue; Wong, Lydia; Zhong, Ricky


This project was about waste management at the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games being hosted by University of British Columbia (UBC) Vancouver. As UBC has already taken many steps towards becoming a sustainable campus, the goal of this project is to continue in sustainable food practices and decreasing the amount of waste entering the landfills. The research question was: What guidelines can be developed for vendors in order to minimize landfill waste production, specifically from packaging of food and beverages, at the 2014 Games? A Waste Management Guideline for vendors was created together with UBC SEEDS and Food Services. The conduction of interviews with community members was the primary research method to gain knowledge on which materials and products are acceptable and unacceptable at the 2014 Games. Mangers from Ze Bite Food Truck, UBC Food Services Product, and Point Grill were a few of the individuals interviewed. Furthermore, literature research helped strengthen the reasoning for why a certain material was placed in one of the three categories of the guideline: Preferred, Acceptable and Unacceptable. A key result found was the capability of the in-vessel to take compostable/organic material and produce an output of fertilizer that is used in the landscaping across the UBC Vancouver Campus. Furthermore, Point Grill restaurant is essentially Zero Waste because of appropriately sorting waste into compostable/organics and recyclables. Therefore, it is feasible to have Zero Waste from the vendors serving at the 2014 Games. Some suggestions for future projects are: (1) posters clearly listing out what items can or cannot be recycled or compostable, (2) standardization of food packaging and utensils across UBC campus, (3) increased promotion of discounts for customers who bring personal reusable food containers, and (4) looking into providing machine washable dishes and utensils that customers will pay a deposit for upon food purchase. A limitation encountered was time and resources. Three months was a short period to tackle a large project; therefore, the research question was immensely narrowed. Furthermore, with shortage of time, a few individuals contacted for interviews were not able to meet within the time frame needed; therefore, information was not collected from those. As well, there were a limited number of members to tackle vast amount of interviews in the short time. The Food and Waste Guideline (Appendix A), will be implemented at the Special Olympics Canada 2014 Summer Games 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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