A sustainable city is also developed through in-depth change in ways of living there. In fact, it is the sum of our habits of consumption that produces a more or less sustainable city. Conducted by groups of residents, businesses, cafeterias or associations, dozens of initiatives are contributing to progressively transforming the face of Brussels: a city in which the supply of sustainable products and foods grows year by year.
Second-hand shops, rental or repair services
The Region encourages businesses that allow “smart” consumption by reducing environmental impact, notably through awareness campaigns in favour of second-hand, rental or repair shops. Some businesses, particularly in the social economy, are also encouraged as they allow jobs to be created.
Almost 20% of greenhouse gas emissions are related to production, processing, transport and preservation of food. Sustainable eating means consuming products that are fresh, local, and seasonal, and preferably result from fair trade and/or organic or integrated agriculture. It also means avoiding food wastage and overpackaging, and alternating sources of animal and vegetable proteins.
Many Brussels associations or groups aid and advise individuals and professionals in order to encourage consumer choices and behaviours more respectful of sustainable development, to promote food that results from production methods and/or channels that minimise impacts on the environment and health and are socially responsible, and to preserve the flavour of food, the gastronomic culture and the conviviality that goes along with sharing a meal.
Whether in businesses, administrations, schools or care institutions, sustainable cafeterias are developing all over the Brussels area. For businesses and groups wanting to develop a sustainable cafeteria, the Brussels-Capital Region makes tools and a made-to-measure support programme available free of charge.
Sustainable hotels, restaurants and cafés
As in any city, there are numerous restaurants in Brussels. More and more of them are striving to prepare and serve a healthy, balanced cuisine based on sustainable products. By encouraging networks of participants such as the Brussels Network for Sustainable Food (Réseau des Acteurs Bruxellois pour l'Alimentation Durable, RABAD) and other programmes blending conviviality, the pleasure of dining and the protection of culinary heritage such as “Taste Brussels”, the Region is aiming to develop new practices among businesses involved with food.
In numerous Brussels neighbourhoods, the Brussels-Capital Region, in partnership with the municipalities, has made available land where the residents can develop a collective kitchen garden project. The initiative offers members the opportunity to inexpensively practise an outdoor activity and to obtain healthy food. The collective or individual kitchen garden is of course also the best way to eat fresh, local and seasonal fruits and vegetables, and thus to reduce the environmental impact of one’s food.