Teddy Hall has taken strides in working toward being an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient college. The two ideals go hand-in-hand, and by helping the college reduce costs, we help college put more funds toward travel grants, MCR assets and college improvements. As the adage goes, “Every little bit helps” and everyone can play their part.

Currently Maren Fichter is the Environment & Ethics rep; get in touch (maren.fichter@seh.ox.ac.uk) if there’s anything you want to see happen!


Waste disposal is charged by the kilo so separating recycling from garbage helps college cut costs and contribute to running sustainably. Every bedroom in college is supplied with two bins, one blue bin for recycling and one other bin for regular waste. As long as you keep your recyclables separate from general waste, the scouts will do the same when they clear your room. The MCR, MCR computer room, NSE common room and NSE gym also has two sets of bins; large bins clearly marked for recycling and smaller bins for general waste.

Here is a quick guide as to what is and isn’t recyclable:

  • Food is never recyclable; if it’s bad, toss it in the garbage.
  • If it’s badly soiled with food or dirt, either rinse it off or toss it in the garbage.
  • If it’s marked “recyclable” on packaging, rinse it and toss it in the recycling bin (the guys at the city council have some Hi-tech (laser separators) and Low-tech (hands-on experts) to separate recycling)
  • Battery recycling boxes are now available in the main foyer of 17 Norham Gardens and the pigeon  hole area in college
  • Large items like furniture and electric goods can be donated to the British heart foundation (boxes @ NSE common room and outside the Wolfson dining hall)

Kitchens in college accommodation will also have signage listing what is and isn’t recyclable–if in doubt double check!

If you are staying out of college accommodation follow this link for some useful info: https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20075/students/15/recycling_in_a_student_house

More comprehensive info on recycling is available from Oxford City Council and recyclenow.

Food Waste

Meals at Wolfson dining hall are self service so you need only to take as much as you will eat. We encourage students to be considerate of how much food they throw away after a meal. Not only does this add undue cost to college expenses (and in the long run, those of future students) but it is also a serious driver of humanitarian crises such as global climate change and food shortages everywhere. Around 30% of food purchased in ‘developed’ countries is thrown away and the average European citizen tosses out more than 100kg of food a year (FAO, 2016). You should extend same consideration to food matters in and outside of college.

Currently college is undertaking a comprehensive review of food waste and hopefully by next year we will have food waste bins available in the kitchens in college accommodations.


Electricity is a very large part of college’s annual expenses, particularly over the winter months. To reduce the costs college installed a new, more efficient boiler in 2016. We have distributed thermometers and an energy-saving-reminder coaster to all the students’ rooms. Around every common space we have signs to remind you to switch off the lights when you are done!

Simple energy saving tips:

  • Put on layers before trying to turn up the heating in winter!
  • In winter, keep the heating on only when you need it. Make the room cosy but not above 21C.
  • Put a lid on the pot when cooking; it saves energy
  • Don’t fill the kettle if you won’t use all the water right away
  • Switch the lights off when you leave the room

Teddy Hall is an official participant of the the Europe-wide Student Switch Off campaign. We won a bronze in our first year and we are going for gold this year!

Environment-Friendly Shopping

If you’re buying your own groceries, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your habits are environment-friendly and sustainable:

  • Try to go plastic free: buy your vegetables at a farmers market or coop instead of packaged at Tesco
  • Bring a reusable bag when you go shopping
  • If you eat meat, make sure the meat you buy is sustainably sourced
  • Or cut out meat altogether–there are a lot of protein-rich and filling alternatives you can try
  • Oxford Hub have produced a great guide for sustainable living, have a look!

Here are some recommendations for places around Oxford that make sustainable living easy:

  • Holland & Barrett: natural health, wellness, beauty, etc.
  • Wild Honey: local, organic produce and dairy; ethically sourced food, supplements, and beauty products
  • Farmers Markets: there are several farmers markets around Oxford, notably Gloucester Green, South Oxford, and Cowley
  • OxCo-op: a student-run coop selling fresh organic fruit and veg boxes and fair-trade dried goods, grains, snacks and drinks
  • North Parade Produce: seasonal, local produce and dairy; very little plastic packaging
  • North Aston Organics: fresh, local, seasonal veg boxes
  • Cultivate Oxford: local & ethical produce


Thames water recommends 4-6 minutes per shower and college has provided little hourglass timers in the showers to help you keep track of how long you’ve been in.

While there is no denying that it rains a lot in Oxford, college still pays for water usage, both water and the cost of heating. With several hundred students it isn’t too hard to see how the cost can grow if everyone spends 20 minutes in the shower. One minute costs about 10 litres of water!

Getting Involved

If you want to get more actively involved in environmental goings-on around college or the university, here are some great organizations:

  • Student Switch Off: You’ll receive regular updates throughout the year about the Student Switch Off competition, with opportunities for prizes (ice cream! Garden party! yay!)
  • Green Impact: Join your department’s Green Impact team, or start a team if your department doesn’t have one!
  • Oxford Climate Society: Lots of excellent talks & events about climate change, sustainability, etc.
  • Oxford Waste Society: Great events about sustainability, waste management, etc.
  • Oxford Hub: Volunteering opportunities/connections with a number of excellent organizations