Together with our partners at Greening Imperial, we are dedicated to ensuring that the food and drink we serve on campus is sourced, distributed, served and disposed of in the most sustainable manner possible. It is important that sustainability runs through the College at every level and we recognise that food and drink forms a huge component of this.
In order to ensure sustainability efforts are undertaken in a coordinated manner, representatives from Campus Services, Greening Imperial and the Imperial College Union meet regularly to discuss opportunities for improvement.
Below you will find some examples of ongoing projects that are underway to improve the sustainability of our food and drink services.
What we're doing
Disposable cup levy
In order to reduce the almost 2,750 single-use cups previously used every day on campus, all College outlets now charge a 25p levy on all drinks served in a disposable cup. We strongly encourage you to use a reusable cup, with a variety of options available from various College and Union outlets. All proceeds of this levy goes towards funding our sustainability initiatives on campus.
Since 2018, all College outlets exclusively provide wooden knives, forks and spoons when taking a meal away. This wooden cutlery is reusable, recyclable and compostable, meaning it has a smaller environmental impact that a plastic alternative.
The production, cultivation and disposal of plant-based foods has a far smaller environmental impact than animal-based foods. As such, we are committed to increasing the amount of plant-based options on campus throughout our outlets. In 2019, we launched Plantworks, the College's first entirely plant-based cafe and restaurant.
What we're doing
Reducing waste at Events
Our Internal Events & Catering team have altered how internal catering orders are delivered in order to reduce waste and single-use items. Plastic trays have been replaced with wooden alternatives whilst disposable stirrers and sugar sachets have been replaced with reusable spoons and sugar cubes respectively. Plastic cling film usage has also been reduced by approximately 90%.
Drink, Refill, Repeat
The Drink, Refill, Repeat campaign, a collaboration between Campus Services and Greening Imperial, encourages students and staff to transition away from disposable drinks bottles and towards using a reusable containers. In order to support this, we have introduced a variety of water fountains across our campuses. The removal of plastic containers from College outlets will save approximately 850,000 cups/year.
Sustainable palm oil usage
Palm oil is used in a wide variety of foods but the palms that produce it only grow in the tropics, where their cultivation can have negative environmental impacts. The College's primary food supplier, Brakes, is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and, in 2019, achieved RSPO Supply Chain Certification for the purchase, storage and distribution of products. We are committed to working with Brakes in ensuring that product recipes and lines are using palm oils in a sustainable manner wherever possible.