Erasmus University Rotterdam wants to offer healthy and sustainable food to its students and personnel. Together with our caterers and suppliers, EUR continuously works to improve and stimulate a varied and healthy food supply, the use of local and seasonal products and preventing food waste. These measures should result in a sustainable (food) chain and a lower environmental footprint.
Vegetarian lunch as standard
Vegetarian lunches are the standard for employee lunches at the Erasmus University. While employees can still order meat, they need to explicitly indicate this in their orders.
Promoting sustainable food
Vitam, the contracted caterer of EUR, collaborates closely with the Erasmus Food Lab. Together, they want to make the available food and drinks on campus more sustainable. The ambition is to make sustainable food the default choice in 2024, meaning that visitors of the Vitam facilities prefer sustainable foods to less sustainable options.
The Erasmus Pavilion uses as many local, seasonal and biological products as they can. They also use a changing week menu in order to limit food waste. Furthermore, all disposables such as coffee cups, napkins and to-go boxes are biodegradable and the Pavilion does not sell/use plastic bottles and straws anymore. For 50 cents you can fill your own bottle with cooled and filtered water and you will get a 10 cent discount on your coffee or tea when you bring your own cup. And finally, the Erasmus Pavilion uses waterless urinals.
The use of public tap water in buildings is stimulated in Polak Building by having water taps on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floor. Since February 2022, a total of 4 water taps have been installed on the campus grounds.
Drinking water taps can now be found at 4 locations: A Join the Pipe water tap for the SPAR University and 3 KRNWTR+ water taps at the intersection of Institutenlaan with Collegelaan; in front of the Erasmus Building and at the Kralingse Zoom entrance near the beehives.
The Erasmus Sustainability Hub introduced the “Erasmug”: a reusable coffee or tea mug. This mug can be bought at the Erasmus Sustainability Hub and the Erasmus Sports Café.
Erasmus Sports Café
When bringing your own mug to the Erasmus Sports Café, you will receive €0.25 discount on hot beverages. If you did not bring your own mug, you will get a biological degradable mug.
Furthermore, the Erasmus Sports Café uses biological eggs, yoghurt and milk. For barbeques they also exclusively use biological meat. And for the lunch tip they always take Meatless Monday into account.
VITAM is the caterer of the Erasmus University. VITAM aims to support people in a responsible and vital lifestyle, while having attention for animals and the environment. Vitam works together with the Erasmus Food Lab in improving the sustainability of the catering on campus.
In terms of sustainable catering the following measures have been taken:
- In recent years, the purchase of sustainable produced products that VITAM uses has increased from 30% to 40%. It is a shared mission of VITAM and the university to increase this number to 50% as soon as possible. Sustainable produced products are products with an independent certified label, seasonal and from an origin that is traceable and transparent and ensuring that the impact on the environment is as low as possible.
- 20% of the cucumbers, 60% of the red bell peppers and 25% of the tomatoes that are purchased by VITAM and used to prepare food on the campus come from the “nobody’s perfect” section.
- The share of healthy products sold in recent years has increased from less than 40% to 60% of all sales. VITAM is keen on purchasing seasonal fruits and vegetables from the Netherlands. They use as many local products as they can, in order to keep the food miles of products as low as possible. For example: they work with local cheese from a farmer in the area of Rotterdam.
- VITAM exploits several coffee corners where they serve UTZ Certified coffee only.
- On top of the standard rules that apply for employees in the Netherlands, VITAM compensates all kilometres that employees make in order to reach their work at the campus. Even when employees come by bike or foot.
- VITAM uses disposables that are 100% sustainable and biodegradable.
- The total share of single-packed products has dropped with 95% compared to 2013. A recent study shows that only 5% of the products purchased are single-packed. All other products come in multi-packed packages.
The coffee machines on the campus are exploited by our partners MAAS and Jacobs Douwe Egberts; both are ISO 14001 certified. How do they to sustain the (food) chain?
- They use solely sustainable produced coffee with the corresponding Rainforest Alliance certification. Furthermore, MAAS sells BLENDSTAR Single Origin coffee which is certified with its own IMPACT@ORIGIN sustainability program. This program moves elements of the value chain from West Europe to the countries of origin. Thus the entire value of the coffee, including burning and packaging, stays within the country of origin which stimulates the local economy and creates jobs.
- Coffee grounds are collected as a separate waste stream and converted into green waste;
- In quieter periods, for example during the holiday season, coffee machines that are in close proximity to another coffee machine are shut down. This saves unnecessary electricity consumption and the waste of fresh milk.
- The coffee machines are A+ and A++ certified and have an automatic ‘standby-by’ modus to save energy. Furthermore, around 90% of the coffee machines can recycled at the end of their lifecycle.
- MAAS has affiliated itself as the first vending organisation with MADE BLUE, an organisation that invests in water projects in developing countries. MAAS contributes to MADE BLUE by donating the same amount of clean drinking water as the amount of water which comes through a MAAS machine. On behalf of the EUR, MAAS donated 132,088 litres of drinking water to MADE BLUE in 2018. See the certificate below.