The Environmental and Economic Implications of Switching from Plastic to Glass at the Grawood
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This project focuses on the feasibility of the Dalhousie Campus Bar „The Grawood‟ switching from using plastic disposable cups to glass, or reusable plastic cups. Currently the Grawood serves reusable glassware until it runs out or the bar gets too busy. This leads to a high volume of garbage waste which could be prevented if disposable plastic cups were no longer used. Three cup alternatives were analyzed; the Styrofoam cup, which is less harmful to the environment than disposable plastic cups, the biodegradable cup, which does not meet the current HRM composting standards and the reusable cup who‟s efficiency depends on the operating facility it was manufactured in. The most appropriate alternative for a bar was interpreted as the reusable cup, which was assessed for this project. The objective of this project is the proposal of eliminating the use of disposable plastic cups all together. To reach an accurate conclusion the data for the current environmental and economic situation at the Grawood in regards to plastic and glass use was necessary. Data results the group needed for the project included a two week breakdown of the total cup use (plastic and glass), the time of switch over and the amount of water used in the current dishwasher compared to a new, more sustainable, dishwasher. After the two week period, the group collected the data from the Grawood staff and found disappointing and incomplete results. Two important findings the group were able to reach were the average plastic cups used for a day and the barrier the current dishwasher is for switching to plastic. The current dishwasher uses exorbitant amounts of water and cleans ¼ of the amount of glasses in an hour a new dishwasher can. Considering there was insufficient data, the focus of the project was limited to the economic viability of buying a new dishwasher which is much more efficient and would facilitate switching from plastic to glass at the Grawood. The expense of a new dishwasher was $13, 805.00. The results exhibited that any extra funding the Grawood and DSUSO have would have to cover the entire cost of this expense. This project concluded that currently switching from plastic cups to reusable or glassware is not feasible at the Grawood because of the lack of accurate data and funding for a new dishwasher. A suggestion for future groups doing this project is to take a more hands on approach, to collect data themselves and not relying on the Grawood staff.