replacing bioplastics with marine degradable alternatives at ucla dining services

SAR Project | 2020

Replacing Bioplastics with Marine Degradable Alternatives at UCLA Dining Services

Pictured above, left to right: Seth So, Jinsuh Jung-Aum, Sophia Winter (team leader), Jasleen Kahlon, Lia Cohen, David Scolari (team leader)


SAR Dining Purchasing Team:

Replacing Bioplastics with Marine Degradable Alternatives at UCLA Dining Services



Bioplastics share many of the same drawbacks that make traditional, petroleum based plastics hazardous to the environment. Bioplastics will not degrade under any sufficiently short timescale unless handled properly in a municipal compost facility. If bioplastic materials escape the waste hauling process and end up in a natural ecosystem, like the earth’s oceans, they will not degrade, posing physical and toxic hazards to the species that live in them. 
UCLA Dining currently uses several single-use items made from the bioplastic material polylactide (PLA). Our team’s goal is to assist Dining management in replacing each PLA item with a marine degradable alternative. These alternatives will be comparable in function, cost, and fitting of each restaurant’s brand. They will also be fully degradable in a marine environment and thus lead to a much smaller ecological footprint than PLA.


Stakeholder(s): Erin Fabris

Team Leaders: David Scolari, Sophia Wu

Team Members: Lia Cohen, Jasleen Kahlon, Jinsuh Jung-Aum, Seth So


Midterm Report: Dining Purchasing 2020 Midterm Report

Midterm Presentation

Press Release: “Plastic: What Goes Around Comes Around”

Final Presentation: “Reducing the environmental impact of dining materials purchased on the Hill”

Final Report: Dining Purchasing Team 2020 Final Report