Sustainable food

We have a Three Star rating – the highest rating and a Michelin Star of the sustainability world – from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and were named by them as one of the top 20 sustainable businesses in 2019.

Our commitment

We're dedicated to developing a sustainable food culture at the University. We're providing Fairtrade products where possible and working with local food partners to increase the demand and supply of seasonal, local and organic food.

We aim to:

  • Continue to work with local producers and suppliers to increase the scale of local produce on campus – reducing food miles.
  • Source ethical produce as standard that protects wildlife and nature, source Fairtrade produce where available and promote seasonality.
  • Reduce food waste and packaging waste associated with catering and increase composting and recycling.
  • Continue to improve the availability of affordable, healthy and sustainable food in our food outlets and hospitality.
  • Promote and celebrate food through the diversity of our campus food outlets and food events.
  • Support University and city-wide food initiatives.


Our performance:

  • Top Three Star standard from the Sustainable Restaurant Association renewed again in 2019 with a score of 79% and were named as one of the top 20 sustainable businesses.
  • Almost 50% of supplies are sourced locally from Devon and Cornwall and 60% from the South West.
  • Supported Fairtrade since first becoming a Fairtrade University in 2009.

  • As of November 2019 there has been a reduction in the use of almost 60,000 disposable cups since implementing the 20p discount.
  • All our fresh milk is from Trewithen Dairy in Cornwall and all coffee is Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance Certified and organic.
  • Our fish comes from Plymouth and Brixham markets and is MSC certified and/or from Responsible Fishing Scheme boats.
  • All our meat is British; beef, pork and chicken comes from a Red Tractor certified family butcher in Exeter and sources the majority of meat from the South West.
  • Our seasonal fruit and vegetables supplier is based in Saltash and sources from the South West.
  • Our Reservoir Café is a Vegetarian Society accredited outlet, and over 50% of our dishes across our cafes are vegetarian or vegan.  All of our cafés provide vegetarian and vegan options and dietary requirements, as well as dairy-free alternative milks.
  • Connecting students and staff with locally grown, sustainable foods from Tamar Valley Food Hub which provides weekly grocery delivery service on campus.
  • Our near-date food is donated to Trevi House and at Christmas we also support other local charities.
  • Leftover food is used for soups and stocks, whilst unusable food is taken to the anaerobic digester at Langage Farm.

Use your reusable cup at our campus cafes 

Our goal is to reduce the number of disposables cups used and then disposed of on campus. It’s estimated that 2.5 billion paper coffee cups are being thrown away in the UK every year. That’s almost 5,000 a minute, or 7 million per day! One reusable cup will on average have completely paid for itself after around 50 uses.

Cut waste, cut carbon, save money when you use a reusable cup at our campus cafes and get a 20p discount.

Where can I refill my water bottle?

Help us reduce plastic waste and refill your water bottle at the following campus locations:

  • Drake’s Cafe
  • Roland Levinsky Building north stairs or east lift lobbies
  • Scott Building ground floor, west corridor
  • The House ground and first floor
  • Cookworthy ground floor and room 417
  • Library 1st floor newspaper room and 3rd floor room 312
  • John Bull Building.
  • UPSU Roof
  • UPSU The Hive
  • UPSU 1st floor advice centre
  • Smeaton 3rd floor, west wing
  • Rolle ground floor
  • Rolle Plaza Marquee

Download our pdf map of where you can refill your water bottle for free

Alternatively download the app ‘Refill’ to locate your nearest water fountain on campus (excluding library areas where staff/student pass is required).

Tamar Valley Food Hub collection point at Drake’s Café

Do you want to buy local food but not sure  where to find it?

Tamar Valley Food Hubs are providing a collection and home delivery service for locally produced food. Similar to a veg box scheme and online supermarket combined, it is designed to make buying local food easier for consumers. Go online to shop for local and sustainable products including seasonal fruit and vegetables, fresh bread, local cheese, other dairy, fish, meat, even local honey. Veg boxes are also available when there is enough stock to facilitate this.


Shop online 

Pick up hub: Drake’s Café
Collect your order: between 3.30pm–3.45pm from the friendly team on Fridays
Don’t forget to order by 9.30am on Wednesday.

Tamar Valley Food Hubs is a non-profit making social enterprise made up of small-scale food and drink producers and their customers. By using us as part of your weekly shop, you will be directly supporting small producers and benefiting your community.

Our sustainable food culture

We're creating a sustainable food culture that supports local, sustainable and Fairtrade produce and suppliers. And we're transforming our catering into a model of sustainable catering.

Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA)

In 2019 we were again awarded the top rating of three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. This takes in to account our product sourcing, our commitments to reducing waste and environmental impacts, healthy eating and charity work. Wherever possible, we buy local produce, which reduces food miles and supports the local economy. We are continuing to reduce food waste and donate any food which is near its use by date to local charities. We are also constantly updating our menus, to include seasonal produce and expand our variety of healthy meals, especially vegetarian and vegan options. Information on our score can be found in the latest SRA report on our policies page.

Our produce, suppliers and near-date food

Since 2015 we have been using a local fish supplier who sources produce from Plymouth and Brixton fish markets, and is empowered to provide fish that is plentiful on the day and either MSC Certified or from boats that are part of the Responsible Fishing Scheme. The boats are small day boats, and many of them are rod and line. This supports the local fishing industry, removes air miles and increases quality. By using a local supplier we are also able to inform customers; what the fish is, which boat it was caught on and where it was caught. We also try to use fish out of the big 5 species, cooking with different types to prevent overfishing and pressure on any one species.

All our meat is British and beef, pork and chicken is from an Exeter family butcher, Red Tractor Certified with the majority being sourced from the South West. Our fruit and vegetables supplier is from Saltash. Our bakers are Friary Mill based in Plymouth and Baker Toms in Cornwall. Our fresh milk is local, our eggs are free range, all hot drinks served in campus cafes are  Fairtrade.

Our disposables are biodegradable. Our food prep and plate waste is collected and taken to an anaerobic digester at Langage Farm. Due to our food waste being carefully monitored and stock ordered in fresh every few days, there is very little near/on date food that is wasted. Any consumable food waste left is donated to Trevi House, a local women’s and children's refuge.

More information on our cafes and menu options, and Fairtrade.



Sustainable Restaurant Association Reports

Please see our policies page for the audit reports produced by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Sustainable Restaurant Association Reports

Please see our policies page for the audit reports produced by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.