Back To School: How to Green Your Canteen

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A Zoomer is a member of Generation-Z, which is defined as anyone born in the mid-to-late 1990s through to the mid-2000s and early 2010s. Spanning primary and secondary school students through to university undergraduates, as a cohort, they list action on climate change as one of their top priorities.

Zoomers are shaping the very institutions they attend with their awareness of social justice and concern for our environment. Not only are they highly literate in environmental issues, many will be educated in institutions that showcase cutting-edge green technologies.

The University of the West of England Bristol's approach encompasses upgrading lighting systems and installing charging points for electric cars. Glasgow Caledonian University uses smart 'dynamic demand' technology in its Saltire Centre, which if widely adopted could be a technology that can nudge us towards a carbon-free future. 

For immediate and low-cost impact, addressing food waste through the introduction of composting in the school canteen and making sustainable choices for packaging and food service materials will help reduce pollution from single-use plastics and divert food waste from landfill, reducing emissions of the greenhouse gas methane.

How Can Your Campus Go Green?

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Schools and universities are great environments to close the loop on our waste cycle. By adopting compostable packaging and utensils we can achieve a cleaner recycling stream and send less waste to landfill.

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Compostable Raw Materials

 

Sustainable options for conventional plastic items are readily available. Look for compostable alternatives made from sustainably sourced and rapidly renewable materials like sugarcane, FSC™ certified wood or BioPlastic that are certified either home or industrially compostable. These materials can reduce your carbon footprint and the certification supports the growth of the local composting infrastructure, creating jobs and enhancing soil.

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Carbon Neutral Products

 

Another way to significantly reduce your impact on the planet is to look out for carbon neutral products. An increasing number of brands, like BioPak, are taking responsibility for the unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions created through the production, transportation and disposal of their products, by actively reducing their carbon footprint and purchasing carbon credits to offset the remaining CO2.

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Tree-free Sugarcane

 

The first phase of the impending plastic bans focus on cutlery, stirrers and straws, but there are so many more compostable solutions that can be used. Sugarcane pulp bowls and containers offer a quality shape and feel and are 100% plastic-free. Sugarcane pulp is a waste product of the sugarcane industry that would have been otherwise burned and eases the demand for tree-based materials. Sugarcane packaging is functional and elegant. It can not only be shaped into any size but will also protect your food in transit, making it a diverse takeaway solution for any cuisine.

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Start Composting

 

Check with your council if your packaging is accepted in your FOGO/Food bin or find speak to us about composting, to turn your food scraps and certified compostable packaging waste into nutrient-rich compost.

A Small Change Can Make A Big Difference

 

If an average food service vendor at a school or university switched their conventional plastic packaging to BioPak cups, sugarcane trays and wooden cutlery, in one year they would offset 15 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to driving a new car around the world. They would also avoid 5 tonnes of plastic and the 4,900 litres of crude oil used to make it. Diverting the packaging from landfill could create 4 tonnes of compost, that’s 280 bags of compost.

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To help achieve the goals of reduced waste and a smaller carbon footprint, have a look at our compostable packaging range and reach out for a tailored solution for your school or university. 

It is critical that we make sustainability the foundation of our future institutions - the next generation of leaders and educators demands nothing less.

Institutions Leading the Way

 

Here are some examples of change-maker businesses that BioPak has worked with:

          1. UK Councils play an increasingly vital role in supporting entire districts of schools, colleges and universities across the UK. At BioPak we work with local councils and governing bodies, supporting their environmental ambitions across their educational sector, through the implementation of compostable packaging within canteens. Hobart City Council in Tasmania, Australia is the first council in Australia to ban all single-use plastics in foodservice retailers, compostable alternatives are a perfect alternative.

 

          2. Universities across the UK are taking action to increase their sustainability credentials, Cardiff University, Durham and Northampton University are just a few switching to compostable and carbon neutral BioPak packaging in a bid to minimise their environmental impact. Likewise, universities in Australia are leading by example and reducing their waste to landfill with compostable packaging and compost collection services, including, the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology Sydney. Melbourne Business School for example diverts between 2,000 and 3,000 kilograms of compostable waste each month.

 

          3. Schools are championing the circular economy with the help of contract caterers providing nutritious lunches in Biopak compostable containers, supported by compost collection services. This year New Zealand caterer, Deejay’s, have changed their policy to only work with schools that have signed up to the BioPak Compost Service, thereby reducing their collective waste to landfill.

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To help achieve your sustainability goals, have a look at our compostable and carbon neutral packaging range and/or reach out for a tailored solution to your school or university needs.