Blog Post

Make your plate happy: reducing food waste at UoR


Our Bars & Dining team are devoted to enforcing sustainable efforts to boost our eco-system. We understand that tackling food waste is a challenge for many within the hospitality sector, but not for us. The University operates all Catering Services in-house, for the benefit of staff and students. We have already implemented processes to divert food waste across our main dining outlets across campus (i.e Park Eat, The Dairy, The Square, St Patrick’s and Wantage Dining Hall) so that we can eliminate our landfill waste to be used as regenerative fuel across campus and beyond.

What we are doing to help

The University’s catering team is committed to reducing food waste by 50% by 2030 compared to 2018. We are well on the way to achieving as we use forward-thinking technology to predict service levels, reusing leftover food where safe to do so, cooking in smaller batches, and reducing the size of our counters in quiet service periods.

We have also introduced large eye-catching waste units into Park Eat to ensure students dispose of their waste efficiently and in the correct containers. This is done by separating our General Waste, Dry Mixed Recyclables, Food and Glass waste. Any food waste that is generated in offices, kitchens or common rooms within the University is then collected with other non-recyclable waste and taken to a treatment facility where it is incinerated to generate electricity. More info can be found here:

Setting up a separate food waste collection would generate substantial costs in purchasing new internal caddies, using additional bags within the caddies, renting external wheelie bins, and having extra collections undertaken by our waste contractor. We ensure we do the right thing from a holistic environmental perspective, not just things that appear to do good. Therefore, we are conscious that the overall environmental impact of our decisions actively minimises unintentional environmental harm. We have also installed graphics across our brand-new screens that promote our ethos of sustainability as we encourage students to bring their own takeaway containers (compliant with our size requirements) as opposed to using disposable containers.

What will the future bring?

As we work alongside The University of Reading’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, we are constantly finding new ways to help reduce our carbon footprint. But this doesn’t just end with us, we welcome suggestions from our students as well – email for any feedback, ideas or improvements.

How can you help?

As well as complying with the measures we have put in place, all University of Reading staff and students can learn more by enrolling on the online course From Waste to Value: How to Tackle Food Waste. Please enrol using your University of Reading email account.


By Antony Flynn

UoR Hospitality


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