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Promoting Greener Stanford:

Biodegradable Tableware
Plastic vs. Paper Debate:
Advantages Disadvantages
 Takes less energy to produce Uses 4% fossil fuels, which
than paper are non-renewable
 Deposits less water-borne  Large scale production 
waste during disposal chemical pollution
 Burns cleaner  Degrades very slowly or not
 Styrofoam- good insulator at all
 Lighter than paper so easier  10% municipal solid waste
to transport  Recycling difficult because
 Less space in landfills of sorting
Styrofoam can’t be recycled
Plastic vs. Paper Debate:
Advantages Disadvantages
 Can be composted  saves  Often cuts down “virgin”
landfill space wood
 Can be recycled  Production uses up more
energy than plastic
Plastic vs. Paper Debate:
So which is better?

Both are harmful to our environment!

Sugar cane bagasse
Advantages Disadvantages
Waste product  More expensive
 Eliminates pollution from  Moisture formation when
burning sugar cane juice heated
 Sturdy and tolerates
liquids up to 190 Fahrenheit
 Compostable within 30-
90 days
Sugar cane bagasse
PLA from corn and potato starch
Advantages Disadvantages
 Reduce the usage of  More expensive
petroleum polymer  Cannot hold hot liquid
 Compostable in 180  Requires more energy to
days produce than plastic
 Doesn’t have to  Cannot be recycled
compromise food
PLA from corn and potato starch
Rate of Composting
Biodegradable Products Days Required for Composting
(note: rate of composition given is for
a home composting system;
composting is faster in a commercial
composting facility and depends on
composting conditions)

Sugarcane bagasse 30-90 days

Bioplastics 90-180 days

We need composting sites!
 Sending biodegradables to landfills…
 The largest advantage biodegradable products have over
non-biodegradables will not be immediately realized.
 Landfills inhibits degradation.
 Some biodegradables will degrade, but take very very long.
 Composting standards
 All products certified by ASTM and BPI compostability
(except potato cutlery)
 Potato cutlery certified under ISO 14851 & ISO 14855, but
not for compostability (under process)
Research Report for 2 Cafes on Campus

 Conducted a research report for two restaurants/café on

Stanford campus to investigate the feasibility of changing
to biodegradable products.
 Results indicated that there will be an increase of 60%-
130% in total costs if changed to biodegradable products.
How Stanford Community will react to
biodegradable products?
 Conducted an online survey from May 23-30th 2006 to
evaluate how Stanford community would react if two
restaurants/café changed to biodegradable products.
 Total number of responses: 313
 Willing to pay 3-5 cents more for drinks and 20-30 cents
more for lunches.
 Changing to biodegradable products will have a positive
impact on the business because it is able to incur the cost
into the price increase and increase number of customers
Arbuckle Café- Graduate School of Business
Biodegradable Advertising Setup

Biodegradable utensils (forks, knives,

spoon and straws) clearly labeled and
Role Model- Arbuckle Café

3 Dimensional
Poster on the
benefits of
Arbuckle Cafe

Compost, recycle and

trash bins are clearly
labeled and effective.