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RE: cafeteria china



One of the better LCAs on the topic of reusable vs. disposable dishware is:

"Reusable versus Disposable: A Comparison of the Environmental Impact of 
Polystyrene, Paper/cardboard and Porcelain Crockery" (1992) prepared for 
the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and the Environment(VROM) 
by the consulting firm TAUW IFRA Consult B.V. (Report number 1991/2)

This is a careful study and has the advantage that it is not sponsored by 
one of the industries with a stake in the answer.

According to info on my copy, you can order copies from:

The Distribution Centre
Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and the Environment
P.O. 351
2700 AJ Zoetermeer
The Netherlands

Good luck with your research.

Reid Lifset


At 03:23 PM 9/10/1999 -0400, Mike Heaney wrote:
>Wendy --- A Life Cycle Analysis a china vs. disposables would almost
>certainly would favor china & reusable utensils.  The environmental cost of
>water and wastewater would have to be very dear to outweigh the mountain of
>plastic (and the upstream costs of producing the plastics' raw materials)
>generated by a large cafeteria.  Not all dishwashers are created equal.  The
>water usage differences of various styles of commercial dishwashers are
>discussed in this factsheet by NC DPPEA
>http://www.p2pays.org/ref/01/0069202.pdf .
>
> >From an economic perspective, the comparison is murkier, as the email below
>from David Biddle of  the Center for Solid Waste Research discusses.  If
>your client has the kitchen space and the capital to afford the purchase of
>a dishwasher and dishes, that would slant the decision toward china.
>
>Regarding composting of cafeteria food waste, NC DPPEA  composted cafeteria
>scraps from the Special Olympics here last summer.  If your interested,
>Craig Coker (919-715-6524) can give you detailed numbers on the cost and
>labor of that venture.  The bottom line on food scraps composting though is
>that the tipping fees would have to be a lot higher than they are now and/or
>labor costs would have to be a lot lower.   For prisons,  where labor is
>cheap (very, very cheap) and land is plentiful, food composting can be
>economically justified.  Otherwise it's altruism.
>
>Mike Heaney
>NC DPPEA
>
>$       $       $       $
>
>
>Ain't no easy answers in the food service materials wars! I'm sure  you will
>get many references to Life-Cycle Cost Studies that may or may not be done
>well. I never saw one that made real sense.
> >
> > We did a great deal of work for a number of large food service contract
>outfits back in the early 90's when they were getting slammed for their
>devotion to disposables. Obviously, we had a lot of contact with a number
>of  the disposables manufacturers. On the whole, the best simple article I
>ever  saw was by Will Gehr in, I believe, a November 1990 BioCycle. I recall
>that the model showed disposables (may have been PS and not paper...can't
>remember) losing by nearly a 50%  margin...purely on an economic basis. But
>I also recall that the model did not take into account the "disappearance
>factor" of most permanent ware. I think dollar wise though we were talking
>about something on the lines of $5,000 saved annually (moderately sized
>college cafeteria).
> >
> > One thing to note about the food service contractors is that they often
>have what they call "strategic partnerships" with suppliers...meaning that
>since they buy in bulk they often get discounted pricing that is outrageous.
>Even more bizarre is that they sometimes get what are euphemistically called
>'subsidies' from suppliers too for large quantity orders. In other words it
>is in their best interest to encourage the use of products because they make
>say a mil per hot cup used.
> >
> > This all said, on a purely economic basis, for an institution, it usually
>makes sense to use permanentware...but only marginally. If they have a
>contract feeder, the economics becomes murky and far from simple.
> >
> > Bottomline though is that the margins we are talking about are not huge.
>Thus, decision making becomes a matter of priorities...a good old value
>judgment. What is the added space worth? What is not letting the dishwasher
>go worth (assuming the creation of jobs is viewed by the institution as
>part of its mission)? What is the cost of renovations?
>
> > Hope this helps.
> >
> > David Biddle
> > Center for Solid Waste Research
> > 215-247-2974

----------------------------------------------------------
Program on Solid Waste Policy
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Yale University
205 Prospect Street
New Haven,CT 06511-2189  USA
203-432-3253 (telephone)
203-432-5912 (fax)
http://www.yale.edu/pswp
pswp@yale.edu