At the Cafés

Cafe from birds eye

There are many cafes at UC, and purchasing food or drink from them offer an opportunity to make informed choices on which cafe or products you support, and why. Some simple issues customers might like to consider include:

  • Does the cafe sell a range of Fair Trade products?
  • Are the products made from ingredients grown locally or in New Zealand or are they imported?
  • Do cafes offer a discount for coffees served in reusable takeaway mugs?
  • Are free range eggs and pork products used?
  • Do cafes cater for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and Halal diets?
  • Do they offer recyclable or biodegradable takeaway plates and utensils?
  • Do cafes buy in pre-prepared food, or do they prepare them from scratch?
  • Do cafes compost their organic food scraps?

Two cafes on campus, 'Reboot' and 'Cafe 101' are examplars of how hospitality businesses embrace the principles listed above, plus commit to a process of continuous improvement over time. Click here to find out where Reboot, Cafe 101 and all other cafes are located on campus. 

Sustainability PrincipleReboot and Cafe 101
Fair trade products Coffee, drinking chocolate, chocolate bars
Locally grown or NZ grown products Cafe managers actively source or specify ingredients grown in Canterbury and New Zealand, particularly with respect to vegetables and meat.
Discounts for coffees served in reusable mugs Yes
Free range pork and eggs Free range pork products are purchased. Free range eggs are currently too expensive to include in food for campus based cafes, where customers are price-sensitive.
Diets Both cafes cater for vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and Halal diets.
Biodegradable or recyclable takeaway plates and utensils. UC's and Canterbury's organic waste management systems overall cannot currently accept biodegradable plates and utensils due to technical limitations. Soiled plastic utensils and plates also cannot be accepted. Both cafes will offer biodegradable plates and utensils when this systemic issue has been addressed.
Buy in pre-prepared food, or prepare from scratch. Food was prepared from scratch on campus for both cafes prior to the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. However access to the production kitchen was lost after the earthquakes. Most food is now prepared from scratch off campus to strict specifications.
Compost organic food scraps Coffee ground are composted through campus community gardens. All other organic waste enters the organic waste collection system on campus.

Sustainable hospitality

New Zealand's fantastic cafe culture presents a massive opportunity to catalyse a game-changing shift in the sustainability practices of the hospitality sector. Listed below are some key focus areas identified by the Sustainable Restaurant Association cafés can address, to be part of that shift.


Areas of focus include:

  • Water saving
  • Energy efficiency
  • A responsble supply chain
  • Waste management (reducing, reusing and recycling)
  • Procurement - e.g. paper products and cleaning materials


  • Supporting Fair Trade
  • Using local seasonal food
  • Food produced by environmentally positive farming which helps to protect the landscape, reduce pollution, combat biodiversity loss and encompass the organic movement.
  • Sustainable fish choices
  • Ethical meat, dairy and eggs


  • Community engagement through local involvement (business, charity or employment)
  • Treating people fairly - doing the decent thing by staff, suppliers and customers
  • Healthy eating
  • Responsible marketing (no greenwashing!)