With a population of around 20,000 students and over 2,000 staff members, providing food that is both healthy and sustainable is a challenge. The Sustainable Food Action Plan covers all the 15 food outlets and states the commitment the University takes to reduce its environmental impact through more healthy, sustainable food options and waste reduction. At the same time, the Sustainable Food Group updates the plan annually and assures actions are measured and reported at a senior level.
Our catering partner, Aramark, works closely with the Estates & Facilities and Procurement departments to incorporate and maintain sustainable practices. Also, our contract outlines key performance indicators regarding sustainable purchasing and environmental commitment in line with our Sustainable Food Action Plan, such as the promotion of Fairtrade products, the purchase of free-range eggs and seasonal products, and a partnership to support CSR campaigns.
Besides food purchasing, the University is also dedicated to diverting waste from landfill and to reduce food waste. Some of the University’s food projects include:
- Part-time Carnivore – Students and staff members will be rewarded with a free vegetarian meal after purchasing four vegetarian meals with our Part-Time Carnivore Loyalty Card scheme. Additionally, they can join our team at the Part-time Carnivore Platform, make a pledge and track their reduction of carbon emission, land and water usage. We post regular blog posts with vegetarian recipes to encourage vegetarian cooking at home.
- KeepCups – There is a refillable mug system in place in the cafeterias to give customers the opportunity to reduce their waste and get involved in sustainability. By using the mug, customers contribute to the environment, get a 30p discount and a free drink on the first purchase.
- Compostable containers – Where it is not possible to use non-disposable containers, Aramark provides compostable ones. Compostable containers are made of plants, contain less embodied carbon, and can be disposed along with food waste.
- Single-stream recycling – We encourage students and staff to split their waste into two kinds of bins, and recycle cardboard, plastic, glass, aluminium, paper and food waste.
- All food waste is sent for composting – Our outlets have a separate food waste recycling stream and all food waste is sent for composting. We are also currently trialling small food waste bins in staff kitchens.
To read more about how we source and supply food, take a look at our what we do page.