Greening the Food Services
Consumers are becoming more eager to learn the stories “behind the plate” regarding what they choose to eat. The HKUST Sustainability Unit and Campus Service Office co-organized the first Green Caterer Awards last year to recognize caterers’ efforts in adopting and promoting sustainable operations and practices.
Awards go to caterers who best exemplify sustainable operations in areas of sustainable food sources, waste management, energy efficiency, water conservation and environmental compliance. The winning caterers Maxim’s Catering Services and Milano Fresh have demonstrated commitment to good health by promoting healthy salad meals, replacing disposables cups, going for fair trade organic sourced coffee beans, promoting less rice option with discount, using biodegradable detergents as well as reducing energy and water use etc.
Food waste is always a popular project topic among students using our campus environment. The first question they would ask is, how do we treat our food waste? With the HKUST 2020 Sustainability Challenge to be implemented in coming year, food waste takes a significant role to reduce at source and recycle to meet our waste target. With less rice initiative and save food promotion by caterers, the current food composting machine in LG1 canteen is a starting point to test the effectiveness of the process before it is brought forward to other catering outlets. Another project of our Engineering master student is studying the black-soldier flies in digesting food waste into high protein fish feed which may be another way out for our leftover food. By working with the Campus Service Office, caterers also learned about the food donation opportunity from local food charity. After all, reducing at source is always the first key step.