The university canteen has decided to campaign a “green initiative” banning all lunch sheets in the process. The effort should be applauded as a citizen who is concerned about nature and rise of global temperature. Since polythene is a non-degradable material reducing the use of polythene is definitely a step taken forward towards a greener planet. However, there are certain aspects where you could look at it…
The fact that most students have their food bought from the canteen can be due to many reasons. For me it’s the convenience of not washing the plate and the minus the extra weight of the lunch in my backpack, I have to carry all the way from home in crowded buses. On the contrary, lunch sheets always been a matter of convenience where you do not have to waste time throwing the left overs to the dustbin and to wash the plate. You could have your lunch within 5 minutes and go for lectures on a busy day. The utility of the lunch sheet is worth more than the 50 bucks you pay for the vegetarian meal.
However, with the new initiative, I’ve been reluctant to have my lunch merely because of the fact that I have to wash the plate. I could say that the utility of the lunch sheet is worth more than 100 bucks where I could buy a packet of lunch from outside for the same value. This merely depends on the laziness of you washing the plate exclusive of other factors. I should say I would buy a mouth watering “kottu” or maybe a plate of “egg roti” amidst of all the inconveniences. The blocked drains and the queue to wash the plate are added as other factors where my demand for lunch at the canteen is decreased furthermore. Solutions??
The canteen also provides take away meals for the students who request them. So you could get a take away meal with a lunch sheet with the same price of 50 bucks and enjoy your meal with all the benefits you enjoyed prior minus the plate. Or the other solution is you could have a plain tea (The most famous among undergraduates because you maximize your utility or rather quench your thirst just for 5 bucks) , a short eat and couple of toffees to have on the go during the Dr. X’s boring lectures.
So what is it for the canteen? Assuming all the undergraduates look for convenience like me amidst of the cost, the demand for lunch packets without lunch sheets should decrease. Assuming such a market exists, the decrease in demand should reduce the price of the lunch packet reducing the profit of the producer amidst of the reduction of the cost of production. However there are other factors that should be considered such as price elasticity of demand; the percentage decrease in demand when the price is increased (vice versa) consumer’s taste and the type of market the canteen will be competing against with. On the other hand, people still could ask for take away lunch packets and still have at the canteen expecting an increase of demand in take away lunch packets. But the time and effort taken to prepare a take away meal is a bit longer however specialized the worker is. The measures taken to reduce the usage of lunch sheets goes in vain if such a hypothetical market exists.
However, the world is imperfect and choices people make varies according to their economic capabilities and other social factors. In a university where most of the students prefer to minimize their costs, the undergraduates would still buy their lunch from the canteen despite the trouble they have to go through the process within.
In the global context, the economic inefficiencies created through green technology or rather the increase in costs is one of the reasons countries are reluctant to initiate environmental friendly campaigns. The trade off between economic inefficiencies are felt immensely in comparison to the rise of global warming which demotivates the entrepreneurs and SMEs to initiate such projects. Yet, there are successful industries who have been economically capable of going green plus reduce their production costs with the help of new technologies.
With the Paris climate agreement in combined with dominant industrialized countries coming to their consensus, we could agree that world leaders are looking towards a more greener planet regardless of economic benefits. Canteen to global… Good initiative!!!