Exploring the economic feasibility of implementing a reusable container program on Dalhousie University’s Studley Campus
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The main objective of this research project was to find out whether a reusable/sealable container program would be economically feasible at the Dalhousie Food Services (DFS) vendors. Our focus was to ask the vendors, and Dalhousie Food Services whether or not the proposed project would be economically feasible. We could have surveyed students on Dalhousie University’s Studley campus to see if they would be interested in participating in such a program if it was implemented. However, we found it more useful to see if the actual economic feasibility through the Dalhousie Food Services would allow such a program. If Dalhousie Food Services would not allow a reusable/sealable container program, then the interest of students in a program would not have much leverage. One of the main reasons we researched the possibility of implementing a program, was to see what barriers stood in the way of previous attempts and discussions surrounding the reusable/sealable container, or any other waste reduction program. As we collected interviews, transcribed, and coded them, we discovered that our original barrier, economic feasibility, was only one of the main barriers limiting the implementation of such a program. Other barriers included: food safety, washing, waste management, management, packaging, and behaviour. Eventually, our semi-structured,open-ended interviews evolved into discussions with the interviewees about the main barriers they brought up. Face-to-face interviewing with Office of Sustainability members, Dalhousie Food Services vendors and their affiliations, lead us to believe reusable/sealable container programs are difficult to implement because barriers exist in the fine print. Franchise standards, policy, and behaviour are a few of the underlying components that make a reusable/sealable container program only a discussion, and not a campus-wide initiative. For further action, we recommend looking into the fine print of health and safety standards, franchise standards, and policy in order to successfully implement a reusable/sealable container program at Dalhousie University.