Sustainability in Mensas and Cafeterias

…is important to us.

We are well aware of our responsibility and take into account aspects of sustainability when preparing our meals – starting with origin and the type of cultivation of our products via their preparation in our kitchens to dealing with leftovers.

To us, sustainability is a resource-conserving, socially responsible, and economically viable way of working and doing business complying with ethical, health and ecological requirements.

Regional & Saisonal

When choosing food, we pay attention to the origin. We focus on fresh food and prefer it – if possible – from the region. All of our fresh beef and pork comes from Germany.

We buy many beverages from local producers from near Chemnitz, from Leipzig, from Dresden and from Thuringia. Our range includes vegan, fair and ecologically produced chocolate and protein bars from a Leipzig-based company.

Our tempeh and saitan products come from manufactories in Leipzig. Our tableware is almost exclusively made by a Thuringian manufactory.

On the first Thursday of the month, we offer the Regio-Teller (Regional plate) in our large Mensas. The ingredients are sourced from producers in the wider Leipzig area, within a maximum radius of 100 kilometres. With the Regio-Teller, we want to support regional producers and bring sustainability to the plate.

On the Regio-Teller you will find the colourful variety of the respective season – this ensures variety on your plate. In addition, the Regio-Teller contains mainly natural and barely processed ingredients. Perhaps we can surprise you on the Regio-Teller with vegetables that may have already been forgotten.

Short transport routes not only save us a lot of CO2. Long transport routes also lead to a loss of quality and nutrients in fruit and vegetables, which we avoid: With the Regio-Teller, you get fruit and vegetables that have been harvested when ripe. This means that all the flavours and secondary plant substances are optimally developed, in contrast to produce that has been harvested unripe for transport and still has to ripen before it can be eaten.

We also receive the regional vegetables unpackaged directly from the farm. This saves us a lot of packaging waste such as film, nets and cardboard trays. To show you exactly where our ingredients for the Regio-Teller come from, you will find a display at the serving counter on the day of the offer, on which the details of the local producers are listed.

You can recognise the Regio-Teller in the menu by this icon:

Our Regio-Teller is available in the following Mensas:

Vegan & Vegetarian Food

Vegan or vegetarian dishes are more climate-friendly and ecologically sensitive than dishes containing meat or fish. Our extensive vegan and vegetarian menu is aimed at also taking into account this aspect thus catering to the wishes of many of our customers.

You will find further information on our page “What We Offer” under the keywords vegan and vegetarian.


Leipzig is Fairtrade city, Leipzig University is an official “Fairtrade University”. One criterion for being awarded this title: Fairtrade products must be available on campus at the restaurants and cafeterias. This is where Studentenwerk Leipzig comes into play as an official partner of the Fairtrade University:

  • We solely use organically grown and fair trade coffee beans, cocoa and tea for our hot beverages at all of our Mensas and Cafeterias.
  • We sell fair trade candy bars as well as Bio Lemonaid, Bio Tea and water from brands that support social projects and fair trade. 

Fair Working Environment

Almost two thirds of the altogether approximately 300 Studentenwerk Leipzig employees are employed at our Mensas and Cafeterias. We are paying each one of them according to the tariff applicable for the Länder. Furthermore, we offer attractive work hours with no night shifts and only occasional public holiday and weekend work. Overtime work is being registered and remunerated either via compensatory time-off or extra pay. Extensive protection against dismissal serves to ensure a secure job.

As a result we hope to create a pleasant working environment for our employees, an environment where they feel comfortable, passing that feeling on to our customers as well.


Fish is an important source of food and income worldwide and at the same time derives from a very sensitive ecosystem. Thus, 33% of the world’s fish stocks are considered to be overfished, while 60% are considered to be exploited to the maximum (source WWF, July 2018).

Nevertheless, for nutritional reasons, we do not want to forego the offer in our Mensas. We are committed to ensuring that our fish products are caught sustainably and fairly, and that their origin is traceable. We achieve this by using relevant seals and their contents. We see this as our contribution to counteracting overfishing and protecting the marine habitat. Species affected by overfishing are therefore not in our range.

Genetic Engineering

We are opposed to the use of genetically modified food.

Therefore, as a matter of principle, we do not use any products that, according to the two EU Regulations on the labelling of genetically modified foods and feeds, either have been genetically modified or contain genetically modified ingredients and are thus subject to labelling.

For further information, please refer to the BUND website or use the following links

Green Electricity

We use 100 percent green electricity at all facilities where we ourselves are the contracting party of the relevant electricity provider.

The following facilities are currently supplied with green electricity: Mensa am ParkMensa am ElsterbeckenMensa AcademicaMensa An den Tierklinken, as well as Cafeteria Schönauer Straße and Cafeteria im Musikviertel.

Climate Protection

We take climate protection seriously: By expanding our vegan and vegetarian offerings and giving preference to the use of vegetable rather than animal fats in cooking, we are trying to improve the carbon footprint of our food offerings. Since rainforests are cut down for palm oil, we only use palm oil-free frying fat.

When selecting our cleaning agents, we make sure that they are as free of hazardous substances and environmentally friendly as possible. Some cleaning agents are already 100% plant-based and completely biodegradable.

Recycling & Waste Prevention

We try to avoid the use of disposable items as much as possible.

We have banned plastic disposables from our facilities and replaced them with alternatives made of wood (cutlery, stirrers) or paper (drinking straws), which are sourced from sustainable forestry.

Our napkins are made of 100% recycled fibres, are neither bleached nor dyed and carry the EU eco-label. They are completely biodegradable and compostable.

Our disposable mugs and coffee cups are manufactured according to the made of paper from sustainably managed forests (PFSC). The lids of our to-go cups are made of Bioplastic (CPLA) and are fully biodegradable. To reduce waste, we charge a disposable fee of 0.50 € on the menu tray and 0.30 € on the coffee cup.

The smoothies in our Mensas and Cafeterias are available in environmentally friendly cups, made out of Bio Polylactides (PLA). The material is made from renewable resources and is completely disposable. Wherever possible, we also offer smoothies in glasses.

Relevo – Reusable System

To take away food and hot drinks, environmentally friendly reusable tableware from our partner Relevo is available in the Mensa and Cafeteria am ParkMensa am ElsterbeckenMensa and Cafeteria am MedizincampusMensa AcademicaMensaria am Botanischen Garten as well as in the Mensa Peterssteinweg, the Mensaria am Botanischen Garten, the Cafeteria Dittrichring as well as in the Cafeteria im Musikviertel. The loan of the reusable tableware is free of charge.

For now, borrowing and returning the reusable no-deposit tableware is only possible in the previously mentioned facilities. With one exception, all dishes, salads, soups, bowls, desserts, and hot drinks can be taken away. Only smoothies will be served in disposable cups in the Mensa am Park for the time being.

  1. Registration: Download the Relevo app from Google Play, the App Store or the website and register for free.
    Registration is necessary as it is the only way the system recognizes that you are participating and which returnable containers you have borrowed. Only that personal data will be collected that is absolutely necessary for taking part in the reusable system. Further information on data protection is available on the Relevo website. Studentenwerk Leipzig itself does not collect any personal data. Neither do we have access to the data processed through the registration process in the app.
  2. Order: Open the app & have food or drinks served on site in Relevo’s reusable tableware
  3. Borrow: Scan the QR code on the dishes & show the scan confirmation on your smartphone
  4. Enjoy: Enjoy your food with a clear conscience wherever you like
  5. Return: Return dishes to any of Relevo’s partners* within 14 days. Return is confirmed by scanning the QR codes provided on the posters.

* On the website of Relevo you can see all the current gastro-partners in Germany. 


There are no costs for users of the reusable system as long as they return the dishes within 14 days. During these two weeks, they will be reminded of the return deadline several times in the app and by email. Afterwards, Relevo charges 10 Euro for a bowl and 5 Euro (climate change fee) for a cup not returned on time. If they are not returned, they are considered purchased. That is to enable a continuous cycle: After all, the bowls and cups should not pile up at home, as they are then missing again in the Mensa or Cafeteria.

Important information on registration 

Our guests who wish to take advantage of the takeaway offer at participating facilities should download and register in the Relevo app in good time.  

If our guests do not want to participate in the reuse system, they have the option of filling the food that has been served on their plates into their own reusable containers and taking it with them. Our employees filling containers brought along is subject to strict hygienic requirements, which we are unfortunately not able to fulfill.


In order to prevent the waste of food, we prepare our food in batch quantities, so that we have only smaller quantities of food fresh and at the ready for our customers, all just to the extent necessary. In order for us to only have to throw away the least food possible, we prepare smaller batches at the end of serving hours.

This might mean that you will not have the meal of your choice – we apologize for any inconvenience and hope you will find an alternative to your liking!

Unpacked goods that have already been offered for sale or have exceeded certain times of exposure must be discarded for hygienic reasons and may not be put in circulation anymore. It is also not allowed to pass on those goods to food banks such as the German organization “Tafel”.

Food waste that is incurred during production or left on plates in the form of leftovers is delivered to waste disposal companies either as used fat, organic waste or wet waste. Used fat is utilized for producing biodiesel. Organic waste is fermented in biogas plants and used for CO²-neutral heat and electricity generation in block-type thermal power stations. The digestate is turned into organic fertilizers. The wet waste is first processed by the disposal company and then turned into biogas.