sustainability in canteens

On the way to a more sustainable future: how does Markas introduce sustainability... in its canteens?

22.01.2020 - Germany - Italy - Austria - Romania

We recently wrote about what we are undertaking to contribute to a more sustainable future in our cleaning service. But this is not the only area in which we act in a more environmentally conscious way in order to increase the sustainability of our services and therefore take responsibility for our future. Our activities focus on concrete measures that increase environmental efficiency in all our business operations. These measures range from the utilisation of ecologically certified products to the fight against food waste and up to the appropriate handling of farm animals.

Within the canteens we are operating in, we are constantly striving to make our service more sustainable, in order to contribute to the protection of the environment and, at the same time, sensitise pupils and students. Although we already have done a lot to an plastic items from our refectories, we continuously seek to replace further plastic and styrofoam with sustainable solutions.

Best practice: the canteens of the Free University of Bolzano are “plastic-free”

Last year we have introduced various measures in the university canteens of the Free University of Bolzano located in Bolzano and Bressanone in order to make our service more sustainable. Among other things we have:
- introduced fruit without any packaging
- introduced paper napkins and placemats, which are obtained from sustainable forestry and produced using water-based ink
- introduced cutlery of steel and glassware to reduce the usage of single-use tableware and plastic glasses which also means a significantly reduction of waste
- introduced spices, vinegar, oil and lemon juice offered in glass containers or 100% recyclable PET
- removed cling film from cold dishes and salads
- introduced the utilisation of Ecolabel-certified cleaning agents, which guarantee high performance with full respect for the environment
- replaced single-use aprons with cotton aprons
In order to check the transposition of our measures, a selected working group, coordinated by our Compliance & Environment Department, performs regular and specific inspections.
Doggy Bag

Healthy nutrition and waste reduction

Other important steps have been taken in the dishes we serve and in our activities. Amongst others, we daily offer fresh fruit and bread from local bakeries. Furthermore, we regularly provide useful information material in the university canteens to keep the students interested in the topics of “sustainability”. This includes:
- panels to illustrate the food and environmental pyramid as well as useful tips for a healthy nutrition
- information about products being used in the canteens and details about the FSC or Ecolabel certification
- regular events that Markas undertakes in its customers’ canteens. An example of this is the theme week “Gastronomy, Quality and Regionalism”, which was organised in 2019 together  with the Free University of Bolzano/Bozen.

In 2019, a major step towards waste reduction was taken in the university canteens: the Markas Doggy Bag was introduced to offer the possibility to take leftover food at home and thus reduce the waste of foods. The Doggy Bag itself is made of cellulose; a completely natural and compostable material that can be disposed together with organic waste. The cellulose itself is extracted from the sugarcane stem which means that a new life is giving to an actual waste product.