Commercial Services Catering and Hospitality plays a key role in the provision and support of more sustainable choices for our customers. We are constantly striving to incorporate environmental and social considerations when choosing our suppliers, during production and the delivery of our services. 


The new scheme on campus to reduce the use of single use plastic! Buy yours now from any outlet on campus.

Sustainability Policy

If you want to find out more about what we do, you can download our sustainability policy.

Latte Levy

We charge 20p per single use coffee cup (just like the 5p plastic bag initiative) in all of our outlets!

What you can do? 

  • Bringing your own mug whenever you're purchasing a hot drink! You can also buy a YORCUP from University catering outlets for just £5
  • Bringing your own food containers if you want to take food away with you - you can purchase reusable food containers from Nisa
  • Using the correct bins around campus - we have recycling bins in all of our outlets, so make sure you throw your rubbish into the appropriate section

Why is it important?

Sustainable food and drink has benefits for customers, local communities and the environment. The Sustainable Development Commission describes sustainable produce as food and drink that:

▪ Is safe, healthy and nutritious for consumers in shops & restaurants.

▪ Provides equitable economic relationships across the supply chain for farmers, processors and retailers. Their employees must enjoy a safe and hygienic working environment whether in the UK or overseas.

▪ Respects biophysical and environmental restraints in its production and processing, while reducing resource consumption and improving the wider environment.

▪ Respect the highest standards of animal health and welfare, compatible with the production of affordable food for all sectors of society.

▪ Supports rural economies and the diversity of rural culture, in particular through an emphasis on local products that keep food miles to a minimum.

What are we doing?

We already have many practices in place to ensure we are contributing to making Commercial Services sustainable. Below are a few examples of what we are already doing.

In our procurement we:

  • Are reducing paper-based transactions within the purchase-to-pay cycle using an e-purchasing system
  • Continue to develop the use of Fair Trade and other ethically traded products and services
  • Use seasonally available ingredients where possible, to minimise energy used in food production, transport and storage
  • Use a range of local suppliers, including M&K Butchers, Delifresh, Haighs Bakery, Fowler Seafood, Hodgson fish, York Brewery, PP snack and York Coin
  • Exclude fish identified as most at risk by the Marine Conservation Society 

 In our menu development, food production and service, we:

  • Endeavour to reduce the amount of meat and dairy used and increase the number of vegetarian and vegan dishes available
  • Increase the use of seasonal vegetables and fruits wherever possible
  • Use of only free-range “Red Lion” stamped whole eggs in all our kitchens
  • Only provide Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certified teas and coffees 
  • Make tap water available in all our outlets, allowing customers to refill their own bottles, thus reducing single-use plastic waste
  • Reduce packaging, labelling, transportation and delivery by producing food on site

What else we have done?

Coffee cup lids

Commercial Services and The Biology Environmental Performance Group worked together to cut waste for the University by ending the black plastic coffee cup lids in campus vending machines. The group had noticed that the coffee vending machines in Biology produce black plastic lids and unfortunately black plastic can not be recycled.  The EPG Group have worked with Jon Greenwood (Commercial Services) and Darren Carter from Upton Group Ltd (the vending machine company) who have agreed to use a different white lid which can be recycled. To find out more information and the full article, please visit

Food Boxes

Catered Accommodation previously offered single use takeaway boxes for students who do not wish to eat in the dining halls and in 2017 we gave away over 2,000 polystyrene boxes per week.. We still offer this the option of takeaway meals, however we ask that students who would like to take their food away bring their own box!  We hope that this will hugely reduce our waste and also encourage students to refrain from using single use plastics.

This new initiative will save thousounds of wasted single use boxes but still offer the takeaway food option. If you have any questions regarding this scheme please contact 

Bring Your Own Mug

Alongside the Latte Levy scheme, we suggest you to bring your own mug when purchasing hot drinks. Not only will you avoid the 20p fee, but you will also recieve a 20p discount off your hot drink! This is part of our goal to eliminate the use of single-use plastic on campus. Your mug should be suitable for hot drinks, and the catering staff have the right to deem the cup not suitable to serve a hot drink in.

Paper Straws

Commercial Services replaced single-use plastic straws with paper straws in 2018. This was part of our sustainable goal to eliminate the use of single-use plastic on campus. We then worked with both Starbucks and Costa to encourage them to offer paper straws, which they are now working towards. We offer plastic straws for customers who ask for them. 


We have joined the #RefillRevolution

All of the University of York water fountains are now registered on the Refill App, including all of the catering outlets, where staff will happily fill your water bottle for you!

"In the UK, less than 30% of people refill their reusable water bottles, even though we have some of the best quality tap water in the world.
Refill not only makes refilling a reusable water bottle easy, but it saves you money too. Through the campaign we aim to stop millions of single-use plastic bottles at source each year, preventing plastic pollution from entering our rivers and sea.
There’s simply no need to buy bottled water." Find out more by visiting the Refill website.

Download the Refill App

We would love to find out your feedback on our schemes, our plans and also if you think we could improve in any other areas.

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