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Sustainability in Univ Catering

As with departments across College, our Kitchen and Buttery Teams have been working hard towards more sustainable practices.

Despite a period of increased supply chain issues – exacerbated by both Brexit and COVID-19 – and staff shortages, a number of important steps, both large and small, have been taken and much more is planned in the coming year.

Over the last 18 months College has:

• Removed all plastic bottles used for water and soft drinks from the Buttery. All of our Grab and Go take away pots are made with Vegware, a range of eco food-safe catering disposables.

• Set up ketchup and mayonnaise pumps to eliminate the plastic waste of single sachets.

• Replaced all single-use plastic cutlery with more environmental and sustainable wooden alternatives.

• Actively encouraged our suppliers to reduce both plastic and cardboard waste from deliveries. Our key Suppliers have been very keen to get onboard and have, in some cases, made a considerable cash commitment by purchasing reusable crates which we wash and return each day.

• Begun receiving data direct from suppliers on how they view and achieve more sustainable practices, the monthly data is sent out by our new Client Account Manager who is very keen to develop the environmental data we can access in line with requests from Colleges that it is a key part of our business.

• Worked with our supply chain via Foodbuy, who are currently developing a new Carbon Usage tracking facility linked to our purchasing data which will replace the old “Green 10” system. This will be accessible for all colleges that use Foodbuy, meaning we can communicate with each other and learn from colleges with better Carbon scores.

• Written menus that can maximise local produce whenever possible. This includes eggs from Mayfield Eggs, a third-generation of Oxfordshire farming family committed to true free-range innovation.

• Provided chilled “milk urns” in both the Buttery and kitchen, which eliminates the need for purchasing smaller plastic bottles for use and distribution to offices across the site.

• Set up new recycling stations in Hall, which has resulted in greater use and less cross-contamination, which in turn can reduces the amount of recycle material being rejected. (We greatly appreciate everyone using these to take careful note of what goes where to maximise their effectiveness).

• Constantly looked to develop and change our list of Fairtrade products served in the buttery.

• Increased use-up days on our termly menus to allow us to reduce food waste. This includes us constantly looking at developing our kitchen practices with additional care to preparation and batch cooking.

• Linked with the Gatehouse charity to donate leftover food.

Other initiative currently in progress or planning include:

• The installation of a waste compactor, by compacting cardboard for example meaning more cardboard can be put into the bin before it is full, which in turn will reduce the number of recycling collections from College.

• Engaging with Oxford Oils for both supply and recycling. Oxford Oils’ mission is to recycle waste cooking oils and to help reduce the carbon footprint of their client base.

• Looking at where energy saving technology can be used in the kitchens and catering areas, including extractor fans, lighting and lighting sensors to reduce power consumption.

• Exploring alternatives to bin bags, clingfilm and other plastic kitchen supplies.

• Consolidating deliveries across College to further reduce our carbon footprint, including things like office equipment and non-catering specific.

• Improving Carbon offset menu days, which may include a reduced red meat options or increased plant based foods.

Have your say on sustainability

Univ will continue reporting on sustainability initiatives from across College so please look out for these on our dedicated Sustainability at Univ page, our News Hub and social media channels – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Published: 16 February 2022

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