Sustainability is often a word thrown around, but at Open Kitchen MCR we don’t use it lightly. It can be a complicated process to understand so here we break down what it really means to us.
We are committed to using our buying power to support the food future that we want to see and work hard to make sure we have a policy that puts this commitment into practice. What this means for you is that we have already done the legwork to make sure your catering is conscious.
What is Sustainable Food?
Our expert team work hard to make sure we take into account the eight inter-related principles of sustainability, which include environmental, health, social & economic concerns, with thanks to fellow experts The Kindling Trust, from whom we have nabbed some of this wording. These are:
Local & seasonal - Local & seasonal food offers a way to; minimise energy use in transportation & storage; increase freshness & quality; strengthen local distinctiveness & build more resilient communities, whilst supporting local food outlets and farmers alike.
Organic & sustainable farming - Organic, low-carbon food production, which avoids artificial fertilisers & genetically modified organisms, is more beneficial to biodiversity & the environment. It also has a crucial role to play in countering climate change.
Reduce foods of animal origin & maximise welfare standards - Meat and dairy products are among the most energy & greenhouse-gas intensive food products.
Excludes fish species identified as at risk - Overfishing is the greatest single threat to marine wildlife and habitats, with nearly 80% of world fish stocks fully or overexploited.
Fair-trade-certified products - Fair-trade ensures producers are paid fairly for their work, offering a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
Promote health and wellbeing - A sustainable food system is about health & wellbeing for all – individually, locally and globally.
Food democracy - Food democracy is about reconnecting people to food & taking responsibility for it, ensuring control by and fairness among local producers, suppliers and consumers, and working to reduce inequality in the food supply chain.
Reduction of waste and packaging - Approximately 70% of primary packaging is used for food and drink which is often discarded contaminated by residues of the original contents, making it difficult to recycle.
How do we choose materials and packaging?
When choosing packaging for our catering, stationery for our office, and lots of other things needed to run our business, we’re guided by the principles of the waste hierarchy. This is the basis of a lot of sustainability work and means that we’ll always try to Reduce – Reuse – Recycle (in that order of priority).
Reduce – We don’t send straws with cold drinks, because, although they can be a nice addition, they aren’t necessary (for most people), so we’ll do without them.
Reuse – As a general rule reusable products (like “proper” crockery and metal cutlery) will be more sustainable than constantly buying, using and throwing away a disposable option. We offer catering with lightweight reusable plates, cutlery and serving platters, that we’ll collect, safely wash, and use again and again.
Recycle (and compost) – Where we can’t find a practical reusable option, we’ll select food packaging and serving sundries that are compostable and / or widely recycled. While this isn’t perfect, it’s better than landfill or incineration.