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    VEGGIE AND SOY

    On average 20% of the meals served at the VUB restaurants are vegetarian to support sustainability and to provide a healthy option to students.

    To produce one kilogram (2,2 pounds) of animal protein, multiple kilograms of vegetable protein is needed which means an enormous amount of available farmland. Secondly, livestock farming also requires a vast amount of artificial fertiliser and water. To gain one liter of cowmilk, you need no less than 1000 liters of water, whereas 200 liters of water are needed to produce 1 liter of soymilk.

    There is also the effect of the large quantities of nitrous oxide, methane, phosphorus, heavy metals, nitrogen, and ammonia which are released during the lifecycle of a milking cow.

    Apart from being a healthy and tasty alternative to meat and fish, a diet based on vegetable products like grains, pods or soy can make a huge difference in limiting our (water)footprint kilogram of produced food.

    By offering a wide selection of vegetarian dishes on a daily basis, students and staff can get to know meat substitutes like tofu, tempeh and seitan. On average 20% of the meals served at the VUB restaurants are vegetarian because of these efforts.

    In case of special campaigns (e.g. Days Without Meat) 25% of the consumed meals are veggie.

    SUSTAINABLE FISH

    The fish served at VUB are selected based on the fishery respecting the natural marine life.

    By offering fish with the blue MSC-certificate, the restaurant can be sure to only serve fish that was caught by a sustainable fishery.

    This means the fishery has a limited impact on overfishing and avoids damaging marine life by adhering to strict rules of conduct.

    For farmed fish like salmon, the restaurant has a pending application for the ASC-certificate.

    Want to do your part in keeping our oceans healthy? Use the WWF fishguide when buying fish: this guide shows what fish is caught in a sustainable manner. You can download it or get one at the GreenTeam’s office.

    WORMBURGERS AND PROTEIN TRANSITION

    The restaurant of the VUB is the first institutional kitchen in Belgium to put the sustainable and rich-in-protein insects on the menu!

    The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has been calling for years to give eating insects a chance. The restaurant of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel was the first institutional kitchen in Belgium to put insects on the menu!

    Why eat insects, you ask?

    Insects are extremely ecological and sustainable. They produce far less greenhouse gasses compared to livestock and need less food and water to be cultivated.

    • Food waste can be used to grow these insects.
    • The world population keeps growing and especially in developing countries this comes with a growing demand for meat. Using insects for food may be a solution here.
    • Insects are tasty, healthy and safe. Grasshoppers for example contain more protein and iron per gram compared to ground beef.

    Encouraging to eat insects is also a part of working towards the protein transition. This is a (partial) transition from the use of mainly animal protein to the use of more vegetable protein and sources of protein such as insects, cultivated meat and algae. More info about the protein transition can be found here.

    FAIRTRADE COFFEE

    All coffee you buy at the VUB restaurants is fairtrade. 

    Fairtrade: what and why?

    On the Humanities, Sciences and Engineering Campus and the Brussels Health Campus

    Fairtrade is helping farmers and workers in developing countries to acquire a better place in the economic chain. For fairtrade farmers, this means they have to be able to live off of the work they do, and be able to invest in a sustainable future.

    Fairtrade organisations fight for: 

    • more respect for human rights and the environment in countries where this is lacking;
    • instilling awareness in the consumer;
    • bringing ethical changes to conventional international trade.

    Fairtrade coffee at and outside the VUB

    All coffee you buy at the VUB restaurants is fairtrade. External catering companies don’t always use Fairtrade, so make sure to ask!

    Is your coffeemaker connected to a fixed supplier? Ask him about his Fairtrade products.

    Most supermarkets have Fairtrade coffee.

    Fairtrade coffee can always be recognised by the label on the right.

    BIOLOGICAL AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

    To serve as healthy food as possible, the VUB restaurant gives special attention to use biological agricultural products in its menus.

    The next step in the sustainability project of the restaurant is to start using biological agricultural products. The companies supplying these products don’t use artificial fertilisers or chemical pesticides. Genetically modified organisms are prohibited and they pay extra attention to animal welfare, environmental care and environmentally responsible packaging.

    REDUCING (FOOD) WASTE AND THE SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

    The restaurant is continually working on limiting all kinds of waste by regularly measuring the amount of (food)waste.

    Based on the results, measures such as reducing portions and using leftovers for soup are implemented.

    The use of tap-water is actively promoted by reducing the sale of drinks in disposable containers and by the installation of free water fountains with glasses.

    Since 2010, the restaurant has permanently banned plastic spoons and cups, aluminium containers and individual sugar, milk and sauce containers and replaced them with sustainable alternatives: sauce dispensers, sugar containers and milk jugs made out of glass, inox coffee spoons and porcelain cups for desserts. Other throwaways made out of petroleum derivatives (plastic) such as coffee mugs and stirrers were replaced by alternatives made from the waste of sugar cane.

    WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR SUSTAINABILITY?

    To help the VUB become more sustainable, there are couple of things that you can do!

    Sort your tray

    By sorting your tray in the dedicated zone in the VUB restaurant, you can help to make it more sustainable. Thanks to our sorting system, only organic waste reaches the kitchen. This waste is then fermented into biogas, which can be used as an energy source. The fermenting process is ecologically and economically more efficient than to process the organic waste as regular waste.

    Take part in this process by following three simple steps:

    1. Before you go to the sorting zone: place only the organic waste on your plate.

    2. In the sorting zone: put drink containers into the blue trash bags, everything else (packaging, napkins, salt/pepper bags) in the black trash bags.

    3. Also follow this process if you put your tray on one of the carts.

    The restaurant staff is very grateful for your cooperation!

    Cooking your own meal

    Of course you can also cook your own meal in your student home, alone or together with some friends. 

    You can find some tips for tasty vegetarian recipes here.