Portal for

    Food and drinks

    Our dietary habits largely determine our ecological footprint. This makes it all the more important to make these habits sustainable, from purchase to processing.

    Sustainability in the VUB restaurants

    The restaurants at our campuses are pioneers of sustainability at our university. The goals are:

    • Offer healthy, ecologically responsible and affordable meals with less animal protein
    • Participate in honest & local trade of seasonal products
    • Raise sustainability awareness in its guests
    • Save energy and reduce waste-output of daily operations

    Our restaurant takes the lead in sustainability

    How the VUB-restaurants take on the challenge!

    Tip 1: consume less meat

    Less meat and more greens on your plate are a huge step towards more sustainable dietary habits.

    For example, did you know that to produce 200 grams of beef, about 3960 liters of water are needed? In comparison, to produce 300 grams of vegetables, ‘only’ 60 to 100 liters are required.

    If you want to explore the vegetarian restaurants in Brussels (and other Belgian cities), you can use a veggie guide through Brussels (only in Dutch).

    Tip 2: choose locally grown vegetables

    Local food is good food. Not only does it taste better, local and seasonal vegetables also travelled less miles to end up on your plate.

    TIP To get your hands on local, seasonal vegetables, go to one of the bioshops in Brussels.

    Tip 3: choose less processed foods

    The more food is processed, the bigger the distance between the original product and the end-user andthe more energy is being used. Less processed foods are also healthier because they contain more nutrients compared to processed foods.

    Tip 4: don't throw food away

    Throwing food away is not done. Every year between 40 and 60 kilos per person are being thrown away. At the VUB, some students took the initiative to create a foodsharing network, where they share leftovers.

    Sustainable student housing

    Ikea is definitely not the only possible destination to find affordable furniture. Flea markets, Freecycle-initiatives and thrift stores could have what you’re looking for.

    Decoration

    Freecycle initiatives

    On Facebook you can easily find so-called ‘verniet’-groups (“verniet”: for free) for almost every city in Belgium. It can be used to look for the stuff you want, or to offer the things you no longer need. The concept is simple: everybody offers their stuff for free.

    Flea markets

    can be found in almost every neighbourhood in Brussels and it’s easy to find cool stuff for a very cheap price. An oversight of all the flea markets in Brussels can be found on the website of Brocantes.

    Close to the Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus, you can find ‘Spullenhulp/Les Petits Riens’, a second hand store involved in social economy. They offer jobs to help people gain experience to be able to re-enter the regular workforce.

    Heating and lighting

    Heating

    • Make sure the radiator is adjusted correctly.
    • Don’t open doors or windows to cool down your room during winter.
    • Ventilating the room (max. 15 minutes after waking up) should only be done when you are in the room, don’t leave windows open when you’re gone.

    Electricity

    • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
    • When buying new household appliances, check the energy-efficiency labels.
    • Unplug electrical devices when you’re not using them.
    • Regularly defrost your freezer: 4 cm of ice will double the amount of energy consumption.

    Water

    • Minimize water consumption: don’t take too long when showering and don’t do the dishes under a running tap.
    • Report leaks and other defects as soon as possible to Infradesk, or to your landlord when you are not staying in a VUB student room.

    Clothing

    Cotton

    Cotton has a large but concealed ecological impact: its production requires an enormous amount of water and is responsible for about 25% of the worldwide use of pesticides. Also, the plantations where cotton is farmed have a very negative effect on biodiversity.

    This is not only a burden on the environment, but also on the employees in the producing countries with precarious working conditions.

    Second hand Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus

    On the Facebook page ‘Second hand Campus Etterbeek ‘ you can buy and sell anything, but it is mainly used for clothing.

    Rank a brand

    If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the second hand market, we recommend you check the labels to make sure the product was produced in a sustainable way. ‘Rank a Brand’ scores your favorite brands have in terms of sustainability. By choosing a brad that makes the effort to create a more sustainable world, you also put pressure on those that need some encouragement

    Study material

    During your studies you will be going through a lot of paper: articles, slides, notes, etc. The following tips can help you avoid wasting a lot of paper.

    • There's a VUB Facebook-page where you can buy and sell second hand books that are used during lectures at VUB.
    • Ask your professors to allow you to turn in papers digitally.
    • Try to print only when really necessary, print on both sides with Ecofont and use the draft mode.

    Mobility

    No shortage of sustainable transport in Brussels: shared bikes, public transport (train, metro, tram or bus) and carpooling take you everywhere you need to be.

    Discover everything on biking and public transport in Brussels

    Mobility at the VUB

    Volunteering

    Doing your part is always more fun in a group. Organisations like S.E.A., UCOS and the GreenTeam are always looking for like-minded enthusiasts.

    GreenTeam VUB

    The GreenTeam of the VUB is the driving force behind the sustainability policy of the university. Together with students and staff they realise several projects to convert this vision into practice.

    Discover projects of the GreenTeam and participate!

    GreenTeam VUB

    S.E.A.

    S.E.A. stands for Sociaal Ecologische Activisten (Ecological Social Activists). They are a student organisation with an ecological approach. Their goal: make the university the student community aware of climate change.

    UCOS

    The University Centre for Development Cooperation (UCOS) is an educational NGO affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Erasmus University College Brussels. UCOS stimulates the development of a critical vision among students about global matters, development cooperation and sustainable development.

    Volunteering

    Volunteering expands your mind. At VUB you can do it in a student organisation or as a student representative, but also Brussels offers opportunities to help social organisations and enrich your personality.

    Commit yourself to Brussels

    Volunteering

    Waste sorting

    Waste management at VUB has been around for a while. Apart from individual sorting bins in classrooms, about 40 other kinds are separately collected.

    Recycling points

    Our campuses have several trash bins for recycling. You can separate residual waste from plastic, metal and drink packaging (PMD) and paper and cardboard. 

    Recycling tips & tricks

    • Avoid the use of aluminium foil. The production of aluminium is very energy intensive and the foil is too thin to recycle. The aluminium boxes of lasagne or pizza plates are stronger and do belong to PMD.
    • Batteries can be disposed in Bebat collecting boxes in the VUB restaurant
    • Students in VUB housing can dispose small amounts of dangerous waste in the secretariat of their student home. Mind that the waste should be identifiable at any time and, if possible, should keep the original packaging.

    TIP Want to educate your roommates? Download the recyling poster and teach them!

    Collecting projects

    Multiple collecting projects try to empower recycling. Each collected item supports a charity cause.