Sustainability in university catering

Everybody’s talking about it, the Studentenwerke do it: in their management of university catering, they act and work in a sustainable manner.

People with protective clothing in a canteen kitchenSurveys show that 68% of young people aged 15 to 24 are aware of sustainable development. They know that an intact environment is the basis for further economic, social and cultural development. This is especially true for students.

Germany’s Studentenwerke are aware of their responsibility for sustainable development. Environmentally conscious behaviour as well as the economic use of resources and energy is a major topic in all divisions of the Studentenwerke.

In university catering too, sustainability not only means the preparation of "organic meals" but also refers to a long chain of activities from planning and purchasing, via production processes to waste management.

  • Studentenwerke have agreed to sustainable purchasing guidelines. They are committed to use preferably fair-trade, regional and seasonal ingredients as well as organic products, meat from animals that have been kept in species-appropriate conditions using methods that protect stocks. The guidelines also include the use of reusable packaging and avoidance of long transportation routes.
  • In addition, requirements and quantity planning are optimised and kitchen processes are designed more flexibly in order to throw away less food. The aim is to match, as accurately as possible, the number of meals cooked with the number consumed. Instead of cooking masses of meals in advance, kitchens work on a demand-and-supply basis.
  • Saving resources: Studentenwerke use environmentally friendly washing-up liquid and cleaning agents, and prepare food using water and energy-saving appliances.
  • You can’t avoid waste but you can optimise it using an active waste management system. The separation and recycling of waste as well as the economic use of packaging materials are already standard practice. Some Studentenwerke also use modern equipment. Wet waste disposal is considered particularly hygienic, economic and environmentally friendly. Waste is compressed to reduce its volume before arriving at biogas plants where it is used to generate electricity and gas.