Green Templeton College is committed to working collectively for a sustainable future. We recognise that the actions and choices of our community have a huge impact on the college’s environmental footprint, with around 250 students living in our accommodation and many more coming to dine and use the facilities. We are committed to working sustainably and embedding sustainable thinking through education.

Sustainability at Green Templeton College
Green Templeton recently won not a bronze, not a silver, BUT a GOLD award in the sector wide Green Impact Awards. Staff, Students & Fellows have all contributed to the college achieving this award, so a huge thanks.  Green Impact is about changing behaviours and making physical improvements to improve our sustainable practises in and around our buildings and college life in general.

Recent initiatives include:

  • Food donations to Gatehouse and other foodbanks
  • Recycle unclaimed bicycles
  • Improved domestic handbook recycling information
  • Ecopure water refill system in the dining room
  • Energy review and report across college site
  • Events over Fairtrade fortnight
  • Keep cups on sale
  • Tree planting
  • Small portion options in the dining room
  • Herb garden
  • Local food suppliers
  • Double sided printing as default
  • Installation of water saving shower heads

We are currently updating our website with more information for this term, which we will circulate later in the year. Please get in touch with college or the GCR community if you would like to share your ideas or thoughts on sustainable issues.

What we do

  • Capital expenditure programme with specific energy reduction targets
  • Low energy lighting throughout our sites where possible
  • Electrical equipment with best energy rating
  • Recycling food, plastics, cans, paper, timber, metals, oils, cardboard and batteries throughout our sites
  • Recycling electrical waste throughout our sites
  • Composting green waste throughout our sites and reuse of compost on our gardens
  • Paperless communications programme
  • Travel plan to encourage staff to use public transport
  • Fairtrade sugar, bananas, tea, coffee, chocolate and biscuits
  • Our main kitchen are looking at initiatives to work with local homeless charities to supply food that would otherwise go to waste
  • Local controls on radiators in rooms
  • Secondary glazing and heat loss reduction programme in planning
  • Recycling of clothing, books and other items through British Heart Foundation collection at the end of the year
  • Provision of storage facilities to enable students to take public transport when travelling


Sustainable Lunch Packaging

During the COVID-19 pandemic the catering team have had to change our lunch offering drastically in order to comply with government guidelines. You will be aware one of the most significant changes we have implemented has been to create a click and collect service for lunch. Whilst this has allowed us to get back to serving you our kitchen team’s delicious meals it has unfortunately meant that we are now heavily reliant on single use packaging.

In order to meet our sustainability targets we have chosen to use a bagasse type box for 95% of our packaging needs, specifically for items produced on site here at Green Templeton. Bagasse is a natural by-product of sugarcane refinement. It is the fibre that remains after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice. Bagasse pulp requires minimal processing and elemental chlorine free (ECF) bleaching to turn it into a woven high-strength paper that is biodegradable and compostable. We feel that this is the best alternative for us at this time despite Oxford councils refusal to accept any form of compostable packaging. This due to the time it takes for compostable packing to break down in their anaerobic composting facility, the increased time required results in the compost quality becoming unviable for them to sell on to the commercial market. Despite this, we feel that introducing a compostable item that takes on average 12 weeks to decompose into landfill, rather than a singe use plastic item that will take 1000’s of years is the better alternative at this time. All items of hot food are packaged in these boxes so please place them along with your wooden cutlery into the general rubbish bins when you are finished.

The remaining 5% is comprised of RPET plastics. RPET stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or recycled PET. PET is a strong, durable and recyclable material, while RPET can be made into such products as blankets, insulation, car parts, shoes and more. RPET is produced by collecting, sorting and recycling PET, then refining the material into flakes that can be turned into new products. Using RPET as an alternative to other single use plastics is a step in the right direction towards a greener future. The lids of our main dish items are made from this RPET cleat plastic so please throw these into the blue recycling bins you see around site so it can be recycled again into something new!

At this time, we cannot accept any form of reusable container due to increased risks of virus transmission.

We continue to strive towards a greener future at Green Templeton so we hope you will help us by separating your lunch dishes into the correct bins. If you have any suggestions for improvements to our packaging options please do email


Meat Free Mondays

At Green Templeton we have completely meat free Mondays in our dining hall. As part of doing our part to combat climate change, conserve resources and improve health, we have one plant-based day each week. When the kitchen is open, it means a range of tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes to fuel you through the day!


How the Green Templeton community can help

  • Report dripping taps immediately
  • Turn your heating down or off before opening your window
  • Turn off your lights, computer, chargers and any other electrical equipment when you go out
  • Recycle with care as everything in the recycling bin goes to landfill if it is contaminated.
  • Take your own glass bottles to the recycling bins externally
  • Take short showers
  • Wash clothes at 30°C
  • Use a bag for life or reuse a bag if you go shopping
  • Use a reusable drinks bottle or flask to reduce single use plastic where you can
  • Share your ideas through the GCR officers

Pack for Good – British Heart Foundation scheme in collaboration with Oxford University colleges

pack for good imageDonations to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) funds research into all heart and circulatory diseases and their risk factors, and currently provides the salaries for around 500 post-doctoral scientists who work in research team’s right across the UK on projects to better understand how to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure hear disease. University colleges that partner with the ‘Pack for Good’ campaign enable BHF shops to receive a regular supply of donations to raise these vital funds.

You can read their 2019 Evaluation & Impact Report and contribute by donating any unwanted goods to seasonal collections at college, or find a local collection point.