Sustainability

Wolfson is working on reducing its environmental impact by promoting positive ways in which students and staff can participate.

Read more about the actions undertaken by the College below.

Green Team

The College has an informal committee working together with the Home Bursar to improve college sustainability. We discuss and take action on a range of issues. If you would like to come along to one of our bi-termly meetings, please contact the Home Bursar's Office or talk to the current Environmental Rep, Angelina Palmen

Recycling

The College provides recycling facilities through Oxfordshire Council for its residents. Recycling is an integral part of correct waste disposal.

The following (clean) items can be recycled using your blue recycling bin, loose or in a clear bin bag: 

  • Plastic: Most packaging, and plastic wrapping that can be either stretched or scrunched, e.g. bottles, food containers, cling film, bubble wrap; Plastic bags (clean, do not fill);
  • Metal: Tins, aerosols, bottle tops;
  • Paper: Newspapers, brochures, books, wrapping paper;
  • Cardboard: Egg boxes, cardboard packaging, toilet roll inner tubes;
  • Cartons: Food and drink cartons (rinsed).

A full list of recyclable items and further instructions can be found on the council website

Most packaging is clearly labelled whether it is recyclable or not. 

Batteries – there is a small brown bin in the Old lodge. In addition, many shops and supermarkets have battery recycling bins.

The lodge can receive broken electrical appliances or advise you on where in College to dispose of them. 

Should you have any unwanted, reusable items in working condition, including clothing, household items, small electrical appliances, bikes, etc. - please contact the lodge. These items will go towards the AMREF sale at the start of Michaelmas Term. Alternatively, there is an informal donation point in the Old Lodge, where you can leave giveaways for College members. Please be aware that this is also the drop-off point for certain groceries purchases, so be sure to leave a note to say yours is a giveaway. 

For larger items, such as bikes, please contact the Home Bursar to arrange collection.

For suggestions on how to deal with other items the County Council provides a comprehensive list. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Environment Representative or the Home Bursar for advice.

Food Waste Recycling

The College encourages its residents to consider the environmental impact of food waste in landfill and has provided a red food waste recycling bin in both the F-block waste disposal area and behind the college kitchens. The council empties these and they are taken to Cassington Anaerobic Digestion Plant, where they are tranformed into electricity and fertiliser.

Please contact the Accommodation Officer to get a food waste caddy for your accommodation. 

Items that can be recycled in the red bins: 

  • Bread and pastries; 
  • Dairy products (e.g. cheese);
  • Fish (including bones and scales); 
  • Meat and bones (cooked or uncooked) 
  • Cooking oils and fats (e.g. vegetable oil, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, lard); 
    - Please collect (cooled) oils and fats in a plastic bottle and place inside your food caddy or red bin.
    - These can be solid or liquid form.
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds;
  • Kitchen towel and tissue. 

Food waste can be recycled in plastic carrier bags, compostables, or newspaper. 

This is an additional facility for keen residents. Thus, you are expected to empty the kitchen compost bucket regularly yourself. Failure to do so will result in the removal of the bucket by housekeeping. 

Click here for more information on how and why to recycle your food.

Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Hall

Many studies demonstrate the strong connection between meat consumption and global warming. As a College community, we want to take responsibility for our carbon footprint and create a positive culture around switching to a more plant-based diet by consistently providing vegan food options. 

Saturday brunch now offers a popular full Vegan breakfast alternative, and during the term a vegan food option is provided with every informal meal. Out of term, vegan food options are guaranteed at least on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but at any given time, please contact the kitchen in advance to make sure. For suggestions on recipes or feedback, please contact Head Chef Tony Baughan, or leave a comment in the guest book located at the Hall. 

Green Impact

Wolfson College is taking part in Green Impact, a National Union of Students initiative run by the Environmental Sustainability team at the University encouraging departments and colleges to work towards making positive environmental sustainability changes in their workplace. Wolfson College has received a Green Impact Silver Award for efforts in improving sustainability for two consecutive years 2015-2017.

Student Switch Off

Wolfson College is taking part in Student SwitchOff, a not-for-profit campaign in the UK that encourages university students to save energy through behavioural changes. Student SwitchOff is an intercollegiate competition for those living in University accommodation. Extra motivation for the scheme at Oxford is provided by an intercollegiate competition with prizes including ice cream upf or grabs for successful Colleges. 

In 2017-18, Wolfson College was awarded Silver in the University of Oxford Student SwitchOff Campaign. 

If you don't live in College, you can still help the College take part in Student SwitchOff. Click here for more information. 

Green Roof

The new Academic wing and lecture theatre have small areas of green roof planted with Sedum, a carpet of succulent plants that flower a beautiful yellow in summer. Over the next few years, the green roof will be extended across the entire roof space of the Academic wing. You can view the current green roof from the upper level at the main entrance to the Academic wing or from Linton Road. Benefits of the green Sedum roof include the absorption of rainwater, provision of insulation, creation of habitat for wildlife, and mitigation of the heat island effect by lowering urban air temperatures. The Green Roof was supplied by Bauder who are one of Europe leading roofing companies and specialist in green roofing.

Solar Power - PV Panels

The College has recently installed 44 photovolataic panels (PV) on the roof of A Block. The PV cells in the panels don't need direct sunlight to work - they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity and this will either be used by the College or sold to the National Grid. For more information on how much electricity the panels are generating, please visit the ABB Plant View Page, or follow the Wolfson Solar Panels Twitter Account!

Cycling

Cycle parking, hire and a workshop is available through the College to members. The College has also recently installed a secure cycle park. For more details on renting a bike, please contact the lodge.

Oxford Plan Bee

The College has very recently installed a 'Bee Hotel' in the Bishop's Garden as part of the Oxford-wide campaign to provide better bee habitats and enables research into cavity-nesting solitary bees. Click here for more information. 

Combatting Single-Use Plastics

The College is actively trying to reduce its environmental footprint by working toward abandoning single-use plastics. Refill points are replacing plastic water bottles sold in the Hall. In the academic year 2017-18, the BarCo decided to no longer order in plastic straws, and is trialling reusable plastic pint glasses. As of Michaelmas 2018, Wolfson Cafe has been selling certified KeepCups with the Wolfson logo, in an attempt to reduce the number of single-use takeaway cups. Cheaper hot beverages are on offer for those presenting their reusable KeepCup. The Events Office are now also using starch-based compostable cups for conferences and events. 

Current Best Practice

The College currently reduce its environmental impact by undertaking a number of simple best practice actions, including: 

  • The College tries not to use sprinklers on any of the lawns and only when really required on formally planted areas.
  • The College has a default policy not to use chemical herbicides on lawns adjacent to the river, to protect the nature reserve and river ecosystem.
  • The College has a large number of flat roofs that after 50 years need frequent repairs. During these repairs, the College is taking the opportunity to install another 60 to 100mm of roof insulation to help increase the Main Building's thermal resistance.
  • The College always replaces all old light bulbs and fittings with energy efficient LED lighting where possible. 
  • All newly purchased appliances are at least A-rated according to the EU energy efficiency labelling scheme. On occasion, where it is not possible or financially viable to acquire appliances of this level then the next most efficient appliance is purchased instead.