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Coffee, Cups and Cutting Waste

Reusable coffee mugs without lids for Brock Fahrni residents.

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PHSA’s Food Services team advances sustainability with fresh ideas

José Morais, director, Food Services, PHSA, noticed a small yet impactful opportunity for improvement at Brock Fahrni, a long-term care facility with about 150 residents, located at the BC Children’s Hospital, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. He noticed staff were using disposable plastic lids on reusable mugs to transport coffee from the coffee machine on the lower floor to residents’ rooms. This observation sparked an idea: why not move the coffee machine closer to the residents to eliminate the need for coffee lids?


Before: Reusable mugs with lids     After: Reusable mugs without lids

José worked with the facility’s food services managers and frontline supervisors to bring the idea to life. This simple shift saves about 378 lids a day, which adds up to approximately 138,000 lids annually, with a potential savings of $2,400. José also added that residents are now served hotter coffee, which they really appreciate – a double win!

Inspired by the success of the coffee-lid initiative at Brock Fahrni, José began encouraging teams at other sites, including the rest of the BC Children’s Hospital, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre campus, and BC Cancer – Vancouver, to bring forward ideas for waste reduction. In the first quarter of 2024, significant changes have already been implemented. For instance, sites have opted for reusable plates over disposable ones, cutting paper plate usage in half and saving approximately $8,000 annually. Additionally, they’ve replaced paper menus and surveys with QR codes, making mealtime simpler and more sustainable overall.

Jonathan Ampana, who manages production and quality control on behalf of the Patient Food Services team has played a pivotal role in analyzing the data for each of these projects. He explains,

It’s all about taking a good look at what we do and finding better ways to do it. We’re exploring new ideas all the time that help us work smarter and take better care of our patients.”

Even minor adjustments in how services are delivered can have a major impact. José encourages others to “look at the little things, talk to your team, and try out new ideas.”

The PHSA Food Services team continues to refine its practices, taking a proactive approach to waste reduction and creating more welcoming environments for everyone they serve.