Research Projects


Sustainability and Management of Bioplastic Food Service Products (RFG Project)

Plant based plastics or bioplastics seem like a good alternative to single use plastics. But are they really better for the environment?

Nadia Springle and her research team address the need to research and inform decision-making on more sustainable single-use alternatives to petroleum-based plastics. The research team will offer recommendations surrounding policy, procurement and best practices for the use, management and disposal of bioplastic foodservice ware for SFU Ancillary Services.

Project summary:

  • This project seeks to address the need to research and inform decision-making on more sustainable single-use alternatives to petroleum-based plastics
  • Bioplastics, which encompass a range of products made from renewable plant resources, is one of the available substitutes for plastic foodservice ware and packaging. However, bioplastics present their own complex challenges and limitations including greenwashing, waste stream contamination, and limited and inconsistent options for waste disposal and management.
  • The project will result in recommendations surrounding policy, procurement and best practices for the use, management and disposal of bioplastic foodservice ware for SFU Ancillary Services.

Sustainability and Management of Bioplastic Food Service Products is a RFG project.

Research Team

  • Nadia Springle, MRM student, School of Resource and Environmental Management
  • Tammara Soma, Assistant Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management
  • Dan Travis & Simon Tse, Ancillary Services - SFU Food
Nadia Springle

Project updates

June 2021 

Nadia has been working with the Food Systems Lab to complete her external stakeholder engagement workshops on bioplastics. The current phase of the project is working with SFU Dining Services to get more information about their food packaging use, and developing resources and recommendations for sustainable packaging at SFU (and considering if and how bioplastics should be part of that).

Figure 1. The photo above is taken from a game in the final workshop where participants got to develop labels and sort different types of food packaging products (via the kahoot.it platform).