At Microsoft, we are committed to finding new approaches and strategies that bring us closer to meeting our goal of creating less waste. We are equally steadfast in ensuring these changes provide the best experience for our employees. This is why we recently updated all of the compostable utensils used in the cafes and kitchenettes of our Redmond campus with new and improved compostable flatware. These new utensils have a higher heat tolerance, better overall performance, and continue to create a sizeable decrease in our waste stream.
As part of a preliminary test phase, the new and improved cutlery appeared at the beginning of the year at a handful of cafes across the Redmond campus. After receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews in our initial round of employee feedback, we finished the rollout phase at the end of February with new utensils across the Redmond campus’s dining facilities.
Paul Egger, senior services manager for dining in the Real Estate and Facilities group, believes that the cutlery can be considered the “new phase” in compostable utensils. Constructed using hardier plant starches called Bioware, the utensils look and feel like plastic, and their melting point is upwards of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Bioware, is made from a product called NatureWorks Ingeo™ PLA biopolymer and is approved for composting at our local composting facility. This means that employees can enjoy their soup without fearing that their spoons may dissolve while still contributing to the company’s environmental practices.
In fact, through this change and other composting and waste reduction efforts practiced at Microsoft’s dining facilities in the Puget Sound, we’ve been able to make a notable impact on reducing our waste, including:
- 285,000 pounds of waste composted annually
- 24 million cups composted annually
- 22 million cutlery pieces composted annually
- 3 million plates composted annually
- 10,000 gallons of grease converted to biodiesel annually
- 3,841 tons of garbage diverted from landfills annually
With this new change, we look forward to continuing to create a high-quality employee experience while also reducing our waste output across Microsoft.