Sustainability

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.

Green Impact Awards Gold

Green Impact Awards Gold logo

Green Templeton is proud to say that we won a GOLD award in the 2020 NUS Green Impact Awards, the first year we had submitted an application.

Staff, students and fellows all contributed to the college achieving this award.

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.

Sustainability across the college estate

Initiatives across our sites and buildings include:

  • Capital expenditure programme with specific energy reduction targets
  • Composting green waste throughout our sites and reuse of compost on our gardens
  • Double-sided printing as default
  • Ecopure water refill system in the dining room
  • Electrical equipment with best energy rating
  • Energy review and report across college site
  • Herb garden
  • Improved domestic handbook recycling information
  • Installation of water saving shower heads
  • Local controls on radiators in rooms
  • Low energy lighting throughout our sites where possible
  • Provision of storage facilities to enable students to take public transport when travelling
  • Recycling electrical waste throughout our sites
  • Recycling food, plastics, cans, paper, timber, metals, oils, cardboard and batteries throughout our sites
  • Recycling of clothing, books and other items through British Heart Foundation collection at the end of the year
  • Recycling unclaimed bicycles
  • Secondary glazing and heat loss reduction programme in planning
  • Travel plan to encourage staff to use public transport
  • Tree planting

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

Sustainability in catering and events

Meat-Free Mondays

At Green Templeton we have completely meat free Mondays in our catering provision. 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!

Food donations

Excess food from the kitchen is delivered to local food banks across Oxford, including Gatehouse.

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 1000s 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 harriet.quint@gtc.ox.ac.uk

Sustainable laundry service

OxWashFrom September 2021, the Laundry Team will be using OxWash to wash all Dining Room linen such as table cloths, napkins and tea towels.

In its Oxford lagoon, OxWash uses water reclamation to reuse the water from a previous rinse cycle for the next wash cycle. This saves up to 60 per cent of the water consumption versus a typical commercial washing machine and 70 per cent compared to a domestic washing machine.

OxWash is implementing microfibre filtration in 2021 to capture more than 95 per cent of all the fibres shed during washing. This process prevents plastic pollution of waterways and drinking water.

Disinfection of OxWash washing is performed using ozone, biodegradable disinfectants (PAP) and quaternary ammonium compounds. Generated using renewable electricity and oxygen from the air we breathe, ozone is an extremely powerful disinfecting agent against many microorganisms.

Automated dynamic dosing of biodegradable detergents prevents surplus chemical usage. OxWash works with partners to get a maximum clean with minimum chemistry addition to our washing process.

Further initiatives

Our catering and events team also lead on a range of other initiatives including:

  • Events over Fairtrade Fortnight
  • Fairtrade sugar, bananas, tea, coffee, chocolate and biscuits for conferences and events
  • KeepCups on sale
  • Local food suppliers
  • Small portion options in the dining room

Fellowship Appeal 2020

Voltage Optimiser box in plant room

Green Templeton’s sustainability agenda has been supported by the generosity of our fellows through the Fellowship Appeal 2020: Climate Change Imperative. These funds have enabled the purchase of a voltage optimiser for the Woodstock Road site and the planting of hundreds of trees around Oxford hospitals.

The voltage optimiser irons out voltage fluctuations, with a proven record of reducing electricity consumption and cost. Financial savings are ringfenced in a Revolving Green Fund for re-investment, to fund initiatives that will support further carbon reduction.

A collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare’s NHS Forest project aligns perfectly with our human welfare mission. Tree planting is a social investment, bringing NHS staff, patients and local communities together, as well as an environmental investment because trees are health-giving and absorb carbon dioxide.

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

pack for good image

Donations 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.

Sustainability Working Group

Green Templeton brings together a core group regularly under the leadership of Paul Klenerman, the College Champion for Green Issues and a Governing Body Fellow. Subject area experts Associate Fellow Geoff Lye and Emeritus Fellow Jeffery Burley join key college staff including Domestic Bursar Teresa Strike, Operations Manager (Events and Hospitality) Elaine Huckson and Graduate Common Room (GCR) Environment Officers Lore M Purroy and Constanze Cavalier.

If you would like to share your ideas or thoughts on sustainable issues please do get in touch!

Student sustainability projects

Green Templeton College Allotment Club

Ella Dunlop (Clinical Medicine) launched the Green Templeton College Allotment Club in March 2021 with help from the Annual Fund. All college members are welcomed and encouraged to help out. Find out more by emailing allotment@gtc.ox.ac.uk or join the mailing list by sending a blank email to gtc-allotment-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk.

Sustainability Talks

The Sustainability Talks are organised by Constanze Cavalier (MSc(Res) Biochemistry) and Lore Purroy Sánchez (MPhil Development Studies). These talks aim to find speakers who can highlight their efforts in sustainability in their field and identify the challenges and opportunities in their disciplines to give the opportunity to open a discussion around sustainability in their field.