THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Department of Applied Science APSC 262- Technology and Society SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT REPORT AN INVESTIGATION INTO IMPLEMENTING A CAMPUS-WIDE STYROFOAM RECYCLING PROGRAM Prepared by: Jennie Bharaj (13761077) Altm Jtwa (66380064) sandunt patiktnarachchi (82726043) Submitted to: Pat Cramond April 06, 2010 ABSTRACT “An Investigation into Implementing a Campus-wide Styrofoam Recycling Program” By Jennie BharaJ, Alim Jiwa, Sanduni Patikiriarachchi This report examines options available to launch a campus-wide Styrofoam recycling program at IJBC. A pilot project on Styrofoam (a. a. expanded polystyrene foam) recycling has been running at the Brain Research Lab (BRC) located in the IJBC Hospital. The pilot program has lasted for four months in nine of their labs. This pilot program uses services provided by a recycling material transporting company named Pacific Mobile Depots (PMD) to transport the Styrofoam to a recycling plant by the name of AquaPak situated in Surrey, BC. As part of the IJBC Waste Management target of 55% per capita waste reduction for 2015, IJBC is in need of a campus-wide Styrofoam recycling program to completely remove Styrofoam from going to landfills.
The goal of this report is to closely examine options available for initiating and continuing a Styrofoam recycling program throughout the whole campus. The scope of this report extends only to the logistics of the recycling program, which consists of three main categories: the Recyclable Materials, Collection and Storage, and Pick-up and Drop-off of Styrofoam. A sister report for this project is being written by another group, to analyze the recycling process itself. Each section was evaluated using a triple-bottom-line analysis to recommend the best available solutions for each category.
Research on all options was limited to available resources around campus and surrounding cities. The report”s economic analysis is limited to preliminary numbers as it was not feasible to capture all hidden costs associated with the options. Upon a triple-bottom-line analysis, it was evident that many Styrofoam products on campus could be recycled; the existing recycling bin infrastructure on campus could be utilized in the campus-wide Styrofoam transport the Styrofoam to the recycler is economically, socially and environmentally favored over other options available.
This report recommends that buildings manage Styrofoam collection bins and store collected Styrofoam at a designated location in the building until the IJBC owned pick-up truck collects the Styrofoam to transport to the recycler. TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ??” LIST OF FIGURES LIST OF TABLE LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS 1. 0 INTRODUCTION 2. 0 RECYCLABLE MATERIALS 2 2. 1 BACKGROUND 2 2. 2 OPTIONS CONSIDERED 2 2. 3 BARRIERS ??” 4 2. 4 RECOMMENDATIONS 5 3. 0 COLLECTION AND STORAGE 6 3. 1 6 3. 2 ALTERNATIVES 7 3. 3 TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE ANALYSIS ??” 8 3. 4 10 4. 0 PICK-UP AND DROP-OFF 12 4. 1 12 4. TRIPLE-BOTTOM-LINE ANALYSIS OF PICK-UP AND DROP-OFF METHODS ??” 13 4. 3 RECOMMENDATIONS ??” 16 5. 0 CONCLUSION ??” 18 LIST OF REFERENCES 19 Cups. ??” 3 Figure 2. Packing Block. 3 Figure 3. Packing Peanuts. ??” 4 Figure 4. Styrofoam Clamshell ??” 7 Figure 5. Existing Paper and Can/Bottle Recycling 14 Bins IJBC Waste Management Office ??” 8 Figure 6. Garbage Truck Owned by the Table 1. Pick-Up Fee Chart for Pacific Mobile Depot LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS UBC: University of British Columbia BRC: Brain Research Center SUB: Student Union Building EPS: Expanded Polystyrene PMD: Pacific Mobile Depots 1. INTRODUCTION Styrofoam use is often overlooked at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Recently, however, the campus community has become more aware of recycling this type of material. In addition, recycling Styrofoam has also become quite an obstacle to overcome. This report explains an implementation for a Styrofoam recycling process at UBC. This recycling process is crucial since IJBC”s Styrofoam waste is a large contributor to the Vancouver”s landfills. By adding modifications to our present recycling program, Styrofoam recycling is possible.
The process to recycle Styrofoam will involve an investigation into three factors: Recyclable Materials, Collection and Storage, and Pick up and Drop off. Abbreviations will be found in the List of Abbreviations on p. vi 2. 0 RECYCLABLE MATERIALS 2. 1 Background Styrofoam is a light, plastic foam that is made out of polystyrene. It is used as packing, peanuts, food trays, and variety of other products. Unfortunately, it seems the full negative impact of Styrofoam is current overlooked at IJBC. Styrofoam is applied and used throughout IJBC and there is currently no program to recycle it on campus in a large scale. . 1. 1 Environmental Impact Despite its number of uses, Styrofoam is a harmful factor to the environment. Given that Styrofoam is a type of plastic, it is not biodegradable. This is due to dangerous chemicals like benzene that are used to create this type of foam (Ho, 2010). Therefore, once thrown away, Styrofoam does not deteriorate. Not only does this cause harm to the environment, it also contributes to landfill pileup. In fact, according to IJBC Waste Management”s Annual Report of 2003/2004, two thousand nine-hundred thirty two tonnes of waste were sent to the landfill.
Unfortunately, the waste contained Styrofoam. An estimated forty percent of the waste amount from this time period was from polystyrene (UBC Waste Management, 2004). 2. 1. 2 Current Methods of Recycling The Brain Research Center (BRC) was selected for a Styrofoam recycling pilot program in hopes that the rest of IJBC Campus would be able to follow in their pursuit. The BRC is located at the IJBC Hospital and has nine labs under the four month pilot program (Bertrand, Melanie (2009). The IJBC Farm also takes part in re-using Styrofoam egg cartons too.
By encouraging students and faculty to give their egg cartons to the farm, they avoid adding more Styrofoam to UBC”s waste. The majority of all egg cartons used by the IJBC Farm are donated by students and faculty. They are used over and over again until weakened (UBC Recycling, 2007). As of now though, there is no campus-wide program at IJBC to recycle Styrofoam. Instead, Styrofoam is simply thrown in the trash to take to the Vancouver landfill. 2. 2 Options Considered 2. 2. 1 Styrofoam Cups/Containers Styrofoam cups and containers are used from IJBC Food Services.
They are used at the Student Union Building (SUB), and other areas that handle food. * Abbreviations will be found in the List of Abbreviations on p. vi Figure 1. Styrofoam Cups. Source: Moon Battery (2008), Retrieved on April 2nd, 2010, < http:// www. moonbattery. com/styrofoam_cups. ]pg> 2. 2. 2 Insulation Materials Styrofoam insulation is used in the buildings throughout IJBC campus. Due to 2. 2. 3 Packing Blocks In its lightness, Styrofoam is used to protect items during transit; it acts like a “cushion. ” At IJBC, items that are shipped and received need Styrofoam packing blocks to prevent damage.
Figure 2. Packing Block. Source: Bureau of Environmental Services (2007), Retrieved on April 2nd, 2010, < http://www. co. ho. md. us/DPW/DPWlMAGES/styrofoam%20block. Jpg> 4 2. 2. 4 Packing Peanuts Packing peanuts are usually S-shaped and are found in packaging of delicate items for protection. They are light and inexpensive. Figure 3. Packing Peanuts. Source: Foto S. A. (2009), Retrieved on April 2nd, 2010, < http://fotosa. ru/stock_photo/ 573. jpg> 2. 3 Barriers Recycling Styrofoam is seldom a simple idea. At UBC, implementing a recycling program for Styrofoam involves many obstacles. . 3. 1 LOW cost Styrofoam is a sanitary product and costs less than biodegradable products. IJBC Food Services is assumed to spend a lot on Styrofoam annually. Due to Styrofoam”s inexpensiveness, this is estimated to be a lesser amount than it would be with other materials for their services. Despite its lack of biodegradability, Styrofoam is conomical for IJBC campus. Therefore, substituting or decreasing the use of Styrofoam at IJBC is inconvenient. 2. 3. 2 Social Ignorance Moreover, members of the IJBC community are unaware of the negative impacts of Styrofoam waste.
Frequently, Styrofoam is littered or thrown aimlessly around trash cans throughout campus. Not only does this show lack of community care, but this also shows the lack of knowledge of Styrofoam”s negative impacts. If the UBC community became more cautious of Styrofoam”s environmental harm, more pilot programs and more action would take place to implement a Styrofoam Recycling Process. 2. 4 Recommendations During the process of putting Styrofoam recycling into action, the campus community posters, and word-of-mouth, the campus community will become educated in the importance of Styrofoam recycling.
By providing more awareness to the members of IJBC campus of Styrofoam recycling, they will approve sooner than later the new plan. Styrofoam is a necessity throughout IJBC campus. Therefore it would be unrealistic to assume this type of plastic could ultimately be avoided for the university. Through investigation, it is found that UBC”s Styrofoam use is consisted of cups and ontainers from I-JBCMs Food Services, as well as insulation materials, packing blocks, and packing peanuts.
With new renovations and machines on campus, insulation and packing Styrofoam is common at IJBC too. With a monthly recycling depot and a new pick-up process, these Styrofoam materials can be recyclable. 3. 0 COLLECTION AND STORAGE This section of the report details the analysis of collection strategies. Once the end user has finished with the polystyrene foam product, there must be procedures in place to discard the product and then consolidate all the foam so that it can be recycled. Three individual alternatives to collect the foam have been identified and evaluated here.
Due to the unique needs of the individual end users as discussed in the previous section, these alternatives are evaluated on a triple bottom line stance considering laboratories, academic buildings and offices, vendors, and food consumers. For the purposes of this report, our estimates indicate that the campus will produce the equivalent of 80 large bags of Styrofoam per month. 3. 1 Styrofoam Consumers 3. 1. 1 Laboratories Expanded Polystyrene usage in laboratories is almost exclusively through Styrofoam packaging.
Continuously incoming goods such as chemical or biological materials that require refrigeration almost always come in Styrofoam vessels for its insulating qualities. 3. 1. 2 Building and Offices The Styrofoam usage in most buildings and offices is found from packing materials such as the foam padding in computer boxes or the foam peanuts that new furniture is packed in. 3. 1. 3 Food Consumers The Styrofoam production from food consumers can be tracked to key locations around campus such as the Student Union Building, where the Styrofoam to be recycled consists of small clamshell type containers that meals are served in.
Styrofoam clamshell container used for many on campus food services (Source: blog. ecolect. net) 3. 1. 4 Vendors (Goods/Food) Vendors receive much of their raw products packed in Styrofoam blocks or peanuts. 3. 2 Alternatives Three main alternatives were considered and are examined here: 3. 2. 1 Recycling This collection method involves using the current recycling bins that can be found throughout much of campus (see (Source: IJBC waste management).
Bins would be dedicated specifically to expanded polystyrene products and would be bagged, collected, and inspected by the existing custodial staff. Figure 5. Existing Paper and Can/Bottle Recycling Bins (Source: IJBC waste management) 3. 2. 2 Consumer Recycling Through consumer based recycling strategies, consumers would request recycling bags from waste services and fill them at their discretion. They would also be responsible for taking out the filled foam containers to their designated monthly collection location.
This alternative is inspired by the Styrofoam recycling strategy that is taken by the University of Victoria. 3. 2. 3 Central Recycling Consumers would be entirely in control of bringing their foam waste to a central lace on campus where it would be collected and sorted for recycling. 3. 3 Triple Bottom Line Analysis This section breaks down each of the alternatives and comparatively analyzes them using the triple bottom line criteria: economic, social, and environmental impacts. 3. 3. 1 Economic Analysis 3. 3. 1. 1 Recycling Bins For every large bag (0. 13 m3) worth of Styrofoam collected (details of bags outlined in the Pick-Up & Drop-off section of the analysis), two recycling bins (0. 189 m3) are required to hold the volume of the foam. At a cost of approximately $30 per container when bought in bulk: 9 60 bins * $30 per bin = $4800 upfront capital investment Assuming it takes custodial staff 5 minutes to remove, inspect, bag each bin weekly and transport the foam to the building”s collection location: 5 minutes per bin per week x 160 bins * 4 weeks per month 160 min per hour = 53. 3 hours of labour 53. hours * $20 per hour (includes wages plus added overhead) = $1066 per month for collection 3. 3. 1. 2 Consumer Recycling As the consumer bags their own waste in this alternative, there are no costs associated with physical collection; however, an infrastructure would have to be set up for distribution of bags. This would likely correspond to one full time employee in the waste management department who would take requests and deliver the collection bags to the consumers. $20 wages and overhead *40 hours a week * 4 weeks per month = $ 3200 infrastructure per month 3. 3. . 3 Central Recycling Central recycling, like consumer recycling, also relies on the consumer to collect the recycling, but has infrastructural costs associated with it to have someone maintain the central collection facility and the costs of running the collection center itself: $20 wages and overhead *40 hours a week * 4 weeks per month = $ 3200 infrastructure er month 500 square foot facility = ??”$1000 per month operating and land opportunity cost Total = $4200 per month 3. 3. 2 Environmental Analysis The section details the environmental impacts of each strategy.
Although not quantified, they will each be considered qualitatively for their potential impacts. 3. 3. 2. 1 Recycling Bins As the bins could be made from plastics derived from refined petroleum products, there are environmental impacts associated with their manufacture and recycling. Chemicals would perhaps also be needed to clean these bins. 3. 3. 2. 2 Consumer Recycling Delivery of the bags to each consumer would produce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and maintenance of the vehicle. 3. 3. 2. 3 Central Recycling Consumers would likely use a fossil fuel based method to transport the Styrofoam waste to the central location.
In addition, the overhead of running a central facility would require products and energy that could involve GHG emissions or the use of other chemicals that could be polluting. 3. 3. 3 Social Analysis 3. 3. 3. 1 Recycling Bins Bins provide an easy fixed location for the recycling, but take up space in buildings these bins daily anyway. . 3. 3. 2 Consumer Recycling The social benefit to consumer recycling is that it allows each user to customize their recycling plan, which may encourage more efficient usage, but this alternative would also require consumers to take initiative which could discourage usage in the first place.
As well, it may not work well for a multiuser building, as each consumer would have to coordinate with others to combine their foam waste. 3. 3. 3. 3 Central Recycling Having central recycling reduces the convenience of the onsite collection strategies which may also discourage recycling. 3. Recommendations From this analysis, it seems that a recycling bin based system provides an economical long term solution that derives its relative inexpensiveness from building on the existing recycling 11 infrastructure.
It is the most convenient of the three alternatives and is comparable qualitatively in terms of its environmental impacts. For further research, the analysis of these collection strategies was considered mutually exclusive from the options available for recycling. If for example the sister report of this project, dealing with the recycling process itself, determines that IJBC hould have its own Styrofoam recycling equipment, the criteria for analysis may change.
Areas where food containers are used also currently require thorough cleaning in order for processing by AquaPak and therefore merit more analysis for economic feasibility. Further research can also be done into a hybridization of these strategies based on individual consumer needs and perhaps implementing a pay per usage type system to offset the program expenses would be possible, depending on the cost tolerances of the parties involved. A marketing strategy will also likely be necessary when a new program like this is rolled out, to educate consumers.