Office of Environmental Sustainability

Eco-Food Court - The Deck

What is The Deck – and why is it special?

In January 2011, Singapore’s first Eco-Food court was launched. Situated at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in NUS; The Deck (Arts Canteen) has taken a big step towards providing a sustainable future. The renovation and initiatives undertaken have helped The Deck win the award for the best food court in the whole of the NUS for 2011.

Background – why make a food court environmental friendly?

Food courts have a huge impact on the environment due to high usage of water and energy, as well as generating vast amounts of solid waste. When NUS decided to make our food courts more environmentally friendly it was due to a number of reasons. First of all, NUS, as a leading global university, wanted to make a statement on how important it is to protect the environment and minimize human impact on global ecosystems. Furthermore, this makes up part of the larger vision of NUS to promote social responsibility in students and staff alike. The green image and the NUS economy will also benefit greatly, saving money on energy, water, and waste disposal.

Initiatives undertaken

The Eco-Food Court certification program is the latest effort by the SEC (Singapore Environment Council), a non-profit organization whose Green Label scheme has become the recognized symbol for sustainable products in Singapore.

Partnering with SAVE (Students Against Violation of the Earth) and OED (Office of Estate & Development), we roll out green canteen initiatives that rest on the following five core issues: water, waste, energy, pollution, as well as providing environmentally friendly alternatives such as vegetarian food. Among the many initiatives, the management implemented water saving devices installed on every tap and proper waste management such as recycling bins and cooking oil. Bringing your own cutlery and paying for plastic bags, as well as making it mandatory that all plastic bags 100% biodegradable form part of the overall effort in greening the food court operations.

To promote these initiatives, many messages with catchy slogans have been displayed around the canteen. This will help the further process of remembering to reduce, reuse and recycle, as well as increase awareness.


To be able to monitor the achieved results, The Deck now has separate installations in each food stall as well as in the common area. Some improvements are already visible, and the results are very encouraging even though initial comparison was difficult due to lack of past data. However, some direct measurements have been made, for example, the number of plastic bags decreased from a weekly usage of 6458 bags to just 1836 bags.

Future goals

Even though The Deck has already made great improvements to save the environment, there is still much to be done. The next step is to implement the certification standards to the remaining NUS canteens.

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Eco-Foodcourt Certification, The Deck at FASS