Greening Operations: Food

sustainability at bcit

Food and drink is responsible for 26% of the total Burnaby Campus Ecological Footprint, and our top three contributors are brand name liquids (juice, pop, bottled water), meat, and milk products.

Chartwells supplies BCIT with most food services and catering on-campus. Chartwells states that 90% of its food products on-campus are produced in Canada, which reduces transport emissions. In Fall 2008, Chartwells committed to provide Canadian, and where possible, provincially grown, cucumbers and tomatoes year-round, and other year-round produce will be added in 2009.

Local, low-packaging, and unprocessed foods are eco-friendly, but production of food products can also be engineered to be less harmful. For example, Chartwells' ketchup is in bulk dispensers, and is also "eco-friendly" because:

As of September 2007, BCIT and Chartwells only use "Free Run" or "Free Range" eggs from "Cage-Free" hens, thereby promoting humane animal treatment and more sustainable farming. Chartwells will also offer Fair Trade coffee in 2008.

Chartwells is the founding national food service partner with the Ocean Wise program, which helps people make environmentally friendly seafood choices. These choices are important because an estimated 90% of all large, predatory fish are already gone from the world's oceans, and a recent scientific study predicted a worldwide fisheries collapse by 2048. In 2008, Chartwells will not offer Atlantic cod, which is unsustainable due to population, or harvesting methods. Atlantic cod will be replaced by more sustainably fished Alaskan Pollock.

Composting and recycling at BCIT also help reduce the environmental impact of our eating habits on-campus.

Energy efficiency in the kitchen

In 2012, BCIT Food Services installed energy efficient dishwashers with heat-recovery capability. The units extract the heat from the steam generated to wash the previous load of dishes and use it to heat the water for the next load. This strategy helps save 45,000 kWh of electricity and 155 GJ of natural gas per year. The new dishwashers also use less water, reducing BCIT's water use in dishwashing by 50% (approximately 670,000 gallons).

In 2011, Food Services installed energy-saving curtains on 17 walk-in freezers and coolers. The curtains, made of heavy plastic strips, help prevent cold air from escaping. It's a minor effort yielding impressive results: a savings in electrical consumption of 170,000 kWh per year.

What we aspire to achieve:

Achieve zero waste

Become greenhouse gas neutral

Did you know? Metro Vancouver's tap water is among the best drinking water anywhere, and a litre a day for three years would cost about one cent. Learn why people are pledging to avoid bottled water with the Metro Vancouver Tap Water Campaign [PDF].