Waste prevention

Waste prevention

According to the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German Environmental Aid), household waste in Germany alone amounts to 37.5 million tonnes per year - that is about 8.7 kg of waste per capita per week.

What does our canteen do?

• Food is prepared in batches.

• Introduction of "too-good-for-the-bin plates" in November 2020.

• Use of AI software to optimise quantity planning.

• Collection of food leftovers to reuse it as biogas and biodiesel.

The Studierendenwerk takes various measures to avoid waste.
In the canteen, for example, we pay particular attention to creating as little food waste as possible. This is because it represents an enormous waste of resources and has a negative impact on the climate.

For this reason, we prepare the food on offer in batches, so that only smaller and freshly prepared quantities are available for our guests on a demand-oriented basis. Since autumn 2020, we have also been using artificial intelligence software that uses weather data and expected customer numbers based on the semester times to optimise the demand-based quantity calculation.

As a result, some dishes are no longer available at certain times. After all, keeping generous stocks and keeping food waste as low as possible do not go together!

The food that remains despite constantly optimised planning and regular monitoring of avoidable food waste, we will sell (if possible) again the next day.

A brand new measure to reduce food waste is the "too-good-for-the-bin plate": shortly before the canteen closes, from 2.00 - 2.15 p.m., you can get our dishes at 50% off! We expect to extend this offer to all canteens in 2021.

In our bistros, our employees produce sandwiches on demand in the afternoon to avoid waste. So please just ask if your favourite sandwich is not on offer at that time.

For the unavoidable leftovers and non-edible waste from food production, we have found ways to recycle them in a sensible way. Special disposal companies produce biogas from the leftovers and biodiesel from used fat. Biogas in turn is used to generate electricity and heat, while biodiesel reduces the pressure on farmland set aside for fuel production.

Did you know? In Germany alone, every single person throws about 75 kg of food into the rubbish each year, most of which would still be perfectly edible. If we add trade and industry, 12 million tonnes of food end up in the bin every year.

We reduce unnecessary packaging waste

Our guests have the choice: pepper & salt in conventional paper bags or fresh and unpackaged from pepper and salt mills at all salad counters.

To avoid plastic waste, we have replaced disposable bottles, e.g. the lemonades, with reusable bottles.

In addition, since August 2019 we have generally been serving the sandwiches and long-life pastries on trays, replacing the previous paper plates in the display cases. Our guests can now decide for themselves whether they want a plate for direct consumption, prefer a bakery bag with or without paper plates, or want to eat directly from their hands. This results in significant potential savings in terms of packaging waste, especially in the bistros. In 2019, this saved us 274,100 disposable cardboard trays weighing 1.6 tonnes and €4650 in procurement and disposal costs.

We also switched to milk for our coffee machines: with the help of our supplier "Sonnenhof", we replaced the 1 litre Tetrapak with the 2 litre reusable Makrolon bottle. In this way, we achieved a saving for packaging of 7682 Tetrapaks in 2019.

In order to make our guests more aware of the issue of waste, we regularly take part in the European Waste Prevention Week with various campaigns. You can read about our past campaigns here.

Would you like to create less waste yourself and thus reduce the burden on the environment? The German Environmental Aid has provided a few practical tips.


Sustainability Manager

Georg Richarz

Porträt des Nachhaltigkeitsmanagers Georg Richarz

phone: 06151 16-29438