Catering for a greener future
Major progress has been made towards ensuring our food business is undertaken in an environmentally and socially responsible way.
Great Food at Leeds has achieved some notable successes in its efforts to become even more environmentally and socially responsible
As a university caterer, Great Food at Leeds (GFaL), recognises its responsibility in this respect, as well as the influence and impact it has on all aspects of its business, from suppliers, manufacturing, production and service.
Thats why it continues to embed a sustainable approach into everything it does, working in association with the Universitys Sustainability Services.
And the teams efforts are really paying off, with significant progress towards the Universitys Single Out: 2023PlasticFree pledge targets and its sustainable catering goals.
Beverley Kenny MBE, Deputy Director of Catering, Conferencing and Print, said: Our goal for the future is to become number one in the higher education sector for sustainability, reaching ambitious goals such as zero single-use plastics by 2023.
We are also fully committed to the University's climate pledge to reduce our carbon emissions by 35% by 2020 and be carbon zero by 2030.
GFaL aims to be single-use plastic-free by the end of 2020
Single Out: 2023PlasticFree
GFaL is making fantastic progress towards the 2023 target and aims to be single-use plastic-free by the end of 2020.
Beverley added: With this in mind, we wanted to let you know about a number of initiatives we are currently working on to try and reduce plastic waste.
Packaging plays a huge role in our business, and we are currently auditing and changing the range of disposables we use, being sure to make the right choices looking at the full lifecycle of the product. Wherever possible, we now use crockery or compostable cutlery and have made a plastic pledge to evidence our commitment to being single-use plastic free #2023.
Since 2017, GFaL has:
- diverted 118,000 disposable cups from landfill since 2017, with 63,000 cups saved in the past 12 months alone.
- introduced a further discount on all hot drinks bought with a reusable cup from 10p to 20p
- started serving all of its counter food in The Refectory in compostable and recyclable packing, with a bring your own container system in operation.
- improved messaging around waste separation in outlets across campus
- reduced the amount of single-use plastic trays and lids from its delivered service sandwich offer, saving 500 plastic trays and lids on average per week, with this number set to increase by the end of the year as the recyclable cardboard box range expands to cover the entire delivery menu
- saved 53,000 single-use plastic waste items in 2019
- decreased the visibility of single-use plastic water bottles throughout its outlets and introduced water in cans; and
- partnered with the Refill app and introduced water fountains across campus.
Installing an outdoor water fountain in the University Precinct has made free drinking water available 24/7
To support the health of our community, GFaL is committed to continual improvement in the nutritional content of its meals and will provide a diverse offer that meets current health guidance.
Beverley said: Well contribute to be a positive partner in society, sharing our skills and knowledge, supporting local initiatives and building the capacity of existing and future staff to deliver sustainable catering.
GFaL has already undertaken a host of initiatives in this respect, including:
- partnering with Too Good To Go, an innovative app and social enterprise that aims to put an end to food waste in the hospitality industry
- opening a new Green and Go counter at The Refectory and increasing the number of plant-based meals and options across all counters to encourage customers to eat more plant-based and plant-focussed meals
- increasing the volume of plant-based options in its Delivered catering, with 70% of the menu being either vegan or vegetarian
- continuing to support Fairtrade products and ethically sourced ingredients
- working with local suppliers to reduce waste, including its fruit and veg supplier H&P Fine Foods on a solution that has enabled the re-use of delivery boxes; and
- making sustainable fish swaps, including replacing more than 15,000 pieces of cod per year in The Refectory with pollock.
The Refectory has started serving all of its counter food in compostable and recyclable packing, with a bring your own container system in operation, also increasing the number of plant-based meals and options
In the next 12 months, GFaL will:
- continue to monitor and reduce the use of single-use items across its catering operations to ensure it is single-use plastic-free by 2023
- continue to work in collaboration with Food Science and Nutrition to increase the availability of healthier food and improve nutritional content
- reduce the overall meat content across its meals and increase the amount of meat free/vegan meals available
- increase its offer of locally and seasonally produced food
- reduce food waste and increase the use of the Too Good to Go app; and
- work with the Universitys Sustainability team and procurement to ensure our catering outlets will have accessible and easy-to-use recycling infrastructure that leads to improved figures.
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