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Plastic Consumption and Compostable Packaging Case Study

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Updated: Jun 14th, 2021

Executive Summary

The change anticipated in the selected university seeks to support the reduction of plastic consumption while managing waste efficiently through the utilization of compostable packaging materials. This report will present the results obtained after undertaking research aimed at revealing the implications of the suggested initiative for the university. The paper will describe how the measures implemented to support the introduction of single-use plastics could impact the beverage and food outlets’ human resources, economic, financial, marketing, and supply chain procedures.

For instance, the workers would be empowered to complete their duties much faster, maximize coordination among departments, support or streamline supply chain and procurement operations and transform financial management procedures. The completed study indicated that such a move is capable of promoting the university’s sustainability agenda and maximizing profitability.


The presented case study reveals that the targeted university finds it hard to recycle plastic cups in its catering outlets. Plastic cutlery and polystyrene containers make it impossible for the institution to achieve its sustainability objectives. It has gone further to introduce bamboo-based reusable cups at additional costs. Corn-starch cutlery is also becoming common (Allen 2017). The university has introduced new changes to transform waste management and plastics consumption initiatives. Some of them include the use of cans for fizzy drinks, getting water from SmartWater, and purchasing reusable coffee cups. Students and staff members who use disposable cups are charged 10p. The university has also replaced plastic cups with paper cups at an extra 5p charge.

The problem of climate change is attributable to different human practices, including pollution and overutilization of natural resources. Plastic bags, containers, and materials tend to affect the integrity of the environment. They take a long to decompose and produce hazardous gases when burned. They continue to litter cities, waterways, pavements, and drainage channels, thereby contributing to major medical problems many animals and human beings face today.

In this university, it is impossible to manage, dispose or recycle plastic containers. The effort aimed at reducing the consumption of single-use plastics is essential since it will support the catering department’s sustainability agenda (Smithers 2016). It will be easier to clean the surrounding environment and reduce the health hazards associated with plastics. Such plastics also contain additives and chemicals that might pose numerous problems to users. Consequently, such achievements will contribute to every initiative meant to tackle the problem of global warming.

Case Study Analysis

Financial and Economic Implications

The current situation indicates that the university has been incurring minimal expenses to purchase single-use plastic cups. The proposed change seeks to reduce or stop the use of these products since they are dangerous and present long-term sustainability challenges. The proposed change seeks to minimize the dangers of plastics by introducing reusable and recyclable cups in all food and drinks outlets.

This move will result in increased costs for the university since such cups and containers tend to be expensive. Initial costs will only be for takeaway cutlery made from corn starch, cartons produced using bagasse, and the introduction of reusable cups. The purchase of paper cups will ensure that the university incurs increased costs. The partnership with Vegware might be expensive for this institution.

However, the financial burden will eventually become manageable since it will not have to incur new expenses to purchase them (8Vegware 2018). From an economic perspective, the relevant departments will be able to minimize the amount of money required to clean the surrounding environment, unblock waterways and drainage systems or recycle plastics. Although the initial change process might be costly, chances are high that the university will no longer have to utilize more resources to manage the problem of plastic materials.

Human Resources Implications

The proposed initiative can be described as a new change in the university. Chiorando (2018) indicates that many employees and followers will tend to oppose new ideas or practices. This means that staff members in this institution might be unhappy since they will have to incur extra costs whenever buying coffee and water. They will be required to return their reusable cups to avoid the imposed charges.

The human resources (HR) department will, therefore, have to consider these concerns and formulate a powerful model to deal with them. HR will have to implement an evidence-based strategy to train, mentor, and engage all staff members and students throughout the change process (Allen 2017). The department can also solve emerging complications or problems caused by the introduced change. After the successful implementation of this change, workers will find it easier to use reusable cups and reduce the number of plastic materials (Smithers 2016).

Similarly, those working in the university’s catering outlets will not have to clean more cups since customers will reuse them. Those who clean catering rooms will no longer encounter challenges when performing their duties. The introduced practices will eventually become part of these outlets’ sustainability agenda, thereby encouraging more learners and community members to support it. Workers will also find it easier to serve the targeted customers and continue to meet their evolving demands.

Supply Chain Implications

The intended change has the potential to transform the effectiveness and sustainability of the university’s supply chain. The new model means that the institution will identify specific suppliers who can meet the outlined goals, including Vegware. The organization will go further to collaborate with this stakeholder to be part of the “Close the Loop” initiative. Those involved will have to implement powerful mechanisms for purchasing, sourcing, and acquiring cups that will deliver the intended objectives. Due to the properties of the identified cups and reusable containers, the university will incur expenses within the implementation period.

However, the expenses incurred throughout the supply chain process will decrease (Sadhguru 2018). The institution will identify new suppliers and manufacturers of bagasse cartons, corn starch cutlery, and paper cups. The department will also be required to coordinate with SmartWater in an attempt to achieve the intended goals. Advanced technological systems might also be essential to streamline the process and ensure that positive outcomes are recorded. The supply chain management team will have to liaise with relevant stakeholders if the new change is to become an integral part of this institution.

Marketing Implications

The catering unit in this university has been making adequate profits from the use of plastic cups. The new initiative is expected to transform current marketing duties and goals. For instance, the institution might be forced to hire competent salespeople who can engage the intended customers and inform them about the unique benefits of reusable cups and non-plastic containers. Catering outlets can develop a superior model whereby all employees will focus on the unique expectations of different customers.

The marketing department might be required to consider sustainable approaches since the introduced cups will have to be recycled. The team can introduce programs for educating more customers about the potential benefits of cleaning containers thoroughly before reusing them. Those involved might also consider evidence-based marketing strategies that communicate the mission of the intended change and how it will result in sustainable practices. The need to liaise with the supply chain department will decrease since the new change requires that the identified customers utilize reusable cups (Khan 2018). Finally, such measures will ensure that the department records increased sales, thereby making it profitable. These new approaches will eventually support the outlined organizational objectives.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The completed research has revealed that the current use of plastic cups is affecting the university’s sustainability goals. The most appropriate decision is to consider the suggested change since it is by the United Kingdom’s policy that promotes the use of recyclable and compostable plastic packaging materials. This institution should stop acquiring single-use plastics. This is an evidence-based approach capable of promoting the idea of sustainability and overcoming the current challenges affecting the global environment, such as pollution and climate change. Such a move will minimize the activities and responsibilities different staff members undertake.

The introduced charges for plastic containers will discourage more customers and students from using them. Consequently, they will be willing to purchase reusable cups and eventually deliver positive results. The completed study has also indicated that such a move will result in increased savings and guide the university to transform the experiences of all community members and stakeholders. In conclusion, this initiative is essential since it will support the university’s sustainability agenda and take it to the next level.

Reference List

Allen, B 2017, ‘Viewers react to David Attenborough’s final Blue Planet II conservation rallying cry’, Radio Times. Web.

Chiorando, M 2018, ‘Every major UK supermarket pledges to ditch unnecessary plastic by 2025’, Plant-Based News. Web.

8Vegware 2018, ‘Vegware wins sustainability award at British renewable energy awards’, Vegware. Web.

Khan, S 2018, ‘Single-use plastic bag sales fall 86% since introduction of 5p charge’, Independent. Web.

Sadhguru 2018, ‘We don’t need to ban plastic. We just need to start using it properly’, World Economic Forum. Web.

Smithers, R 2016, ‘England’s plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced’, The Guardian. Web.

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