New coffee machines: without plastic cups, but with oat milk

As of July, all of the coffee machines on campus will be more sustainable.
The end of the plastic cups from coffee machines is near. Photo Luuk Zegers.

WUR’s contracts with Jacob Douwe Egberts and Maas for coffee on campus are set to expire. The tender was won by Maas, which will supply the campus with coffee from 1 July. All of the current machines on campus will be replaced by new ones as of June.

The new machines have ‘the necessary upgrades’, says Marcha Sperna Weiland, contract manager of Food and Beverage at Facilities and Services. ‘They will all dispense coffee from freshly ground beans.’ Moreover, there will be ‘vegan alternatives for milk’ in addition to the ‘standard’ cappuccino. The vegan milk substitute is oat milk. Oat milk was chosen because it is more popular than soy milk or almond milk, and its production is more sustainable than the other two options. The plant-based milk is to contribute to the protein transition, although the consumer will still have a choice.

Unlike the current Jacob Douwe Egberts machines in the education buildings, the new machines will no longer dispense plastic cups. The introduction of the new machines coincides with the Single Use Plastic (SUP) legislation coming into effect. As of 1 July 2024, the use of free disposable plastic cups for beverages to go is prohibited. As of 1 January, single-use plastic cups are also banned for use on-site, such as coffee machines in offices.

‘We strive for reusable cups everywhere’, says Sperna Weiland. ‘Although we must see what is needed to achieve this per building. For example, there are no dishwashers in some locations, nor can they be installed. And we expect some resistance from people who prefer not to carry a cup around. It will take some getting used to.’

New caterers

An extensive tendering trajectory is also underway for campus catering. There are currently different caterers for the different buildings, but in the future, there will be one single caterer for Orion, Forum, Aurora, Leeuwenborch and Atlas. ‘We decided that having a single caterer for all these buildings is more convenient’, says Annet de Haas, head of Location Facilities. ‘This increases the options to make our catering attractive, sustainable and healthy for everyone.’ The new tender does not apply to restaurants in Impulse and Omnia.

Unlike the Engineering Faculty of the TU Delft, where the menu is entirely vegetarian, Wageningen will continue to offer a full range of options. ‘We asked the stakeholders whether they would want a vegetarian-only set up’, says De Haas. ‘However, people indicated they prefer to make their own choices. We want to entice people to choose more sustainable and healthy options, but we do not want to mandate them. It will, thus, not be entirely vegetarian or vegan. Nevertheless, the protein transition is a key aspect of our perspective on Food & Beverage.’ This perspective states that plant-based proteins should become the standard. ‘How precisely this is to be implemented is something we will decide with the new caterer.’

De Haas states what party will offer the catering is soon to be decided. ‘We are to switch in the summer, in August, most likely. The new caterer will be ready in the new academic year.’

In Resource 15, available from Thursday, 20 April, you can read all about oat milk. Is it milk? And where do all the oats come from? Is it healthy?

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