In its 11 years, Green Impact has seen some tremendous results, both in sustainable impact and engagement across the University.

For many years, Green Impact was a workbook based programme, but after a trial in 2017-18, a project element was added to the scheme, enabling teams to get creative and design projects that will have the most impact and engagement within their departments. We’ve seen some great projects so far, covering a range of sustainability issues including waste, energy, biodiversity, diet, travel, water and wellbeing, to name a few.

We’ve shortlisted our top 10 projects of Green Impact so far, featured below.

Sustainable labs

Green Impact has encouraged lab-based departments to investigate how they could become more sustainable with their equipment and procedures. The Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SiTRAN) Green Impact team were able to reduce the amount of tip boxes they consumed by reusing (after sterilising) the ones they already had.

The Animal and Plant Science (APS) department is now re-using all of its petri dishes, 60ml containers, insect housing containers, 48-well tissue culture plates, plant pots and trays, and also continuing to use washable glass petri-dishes, glass bottles, beakers and test tubes. They have switched to using 100% paper, splash-resistant glassine bags or envelopes to collect plant material in and even re-using some of their glass slides!


These changes have resulted in a big reduction in the amount of waste being disposed of from the labs- at the same time reducing staff time and financial costs associated with purchase, delivery and disposal. And more importantly our carbon and pollution footprint is being reduced.

Andy Krupa, APS Green Impact lead

Gardens

As a result of Green Impact, we’ve seen a couple of garden plots popping up across campus from groups including IT Services, HR, SiTRAN and Geography. The plots are being used to grow vegetables and herbs, as well as wildflowers to promote biodiversity. Having these gardens open to volunteers is a great way to improve staff and student wellbeing, encouraging people to leave their desks for some fresh air to help maintain the plots.

Meat Free Mondays

Throughout November 2018, 18 HR staff members took the pledge to take part in Meat Free Mondays. By tracking their progress using the Part-Time Carnivore website, together they saved 2,120 kg of carbon dioxide, 7,685 square metres of land and 426,915 litres of water! Goody bags made up of vegan treats were given to those who stuck to their pledge – a great source of encouragement!

To help the department stick at it through November and beyond, the team put together an online guide to local vegetarian and vegan friendly eateries, and encouraged the department to consider one of these venues for team lunches and events. They also put together a collection of online resources including their favourite apps and websites that contain useful tips, recipes and information to inspire the department to go meat-free more often. Many of them continue to take part in MFMs now!

Exam phone storage

The Student Administration Services (SAS) Green Impact team identified a wasteful practice taking place at the University during exam periods. At the time, over 1,000 envelopes were being handed-out each day during the main exam sessions for students to store their phones. SAS conducted cost-analysis research to find a suitable sustainable replacement, which would allow the reuse of this storage again and again. As a result, across the University we now use reusable trays to store mobile phones for exams, which has greatly reduced the amount of landfill waste.

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Community fridge

Located in the Edge cafe at Endcliffe student village, a community fridge was installed two years ago in a bid to reduce food waste and to help those in need. The project is a joint-venture between the University and Sainsbury’s, who provided a grant for the fridge. The fridge is stocked up with regular donations from local retailers such as Tesco Express, Waitrose and Co-op, plus items that are donated from the onsite village store. Since opening, over 25 tonnes of food has been exchanged, reaching 2577 people, predominantly students but also staff and people from the wider local community who live close by.


While the aim of the community fridge is to reduce food waste, we also hope it brings people together and reignites a bit of our traditional community spirit.

Andrew Woffindin, Contracts and Environmental Coordinator

The project has been so successful that the residences have launched a second community fridge at Ranmoor student village.

Recycling engagement

In an effort to increase recycling rates at the University, the Corporate Communications Green Impact team put together this super snappy 60 second crash course on how to recycle at the University. Check it out here.

CICS Green Festival

Last year, the CICS team organised a Green Impact Festival, spanning over 3 days during lunchtimes. Each day covered a new theme (Renewables, Waste Less, Food/Wellbeing/Wildlife) with guest speakers, activities, information points and more. The event was promoted across the University to share knowledge across other departments, and hopes to be a legacy project which runs each year to cover more themes of sustainability.

Donate, Don’t Waste

A fantastic legacy project from the Residences team, ‘Donate, Don’t Waste’ is a recycling and reuse scheme which encourages students to pass things on for reuse by local charities as well as the Free Shop for fellow students.

Donate, Don’t Waste Free Shop

The Free Shop concept has been devised especially to help students arriving at their accommodation with limited baggage space and those needing to get set up quickly but finding the cost of purchasing new things prohibitive in the first few weeks of term. Many of the products have been donated by students leaving Sheffield at the end of their last semester and no longer needing all the things they have accumulated over the year. Other items have been collected from surplus catering equipment at University catering facilities.

At the last event in September 2019, 4,000 items were distributed to over 450 residents in the Free Shop, with attendees pledging that they will re-donate their surplus items when they move out in 2020!

Energy audits and switch off events

Last year saw two teams, the Information School and Student Services Information Desk (SSiD), conducted energy switch off events in their departments over the Christmas period, along with producing energy awareness materials to encourage staff to take part. The Information School made a saving of £82 compared to the previous year in one of their buildings, and SSiD identified a 40% reduction in energy use compared to a standard weekend before. Both teams are continuing their efforts in being thorough in encouraging their departments to ‘switch off’ at the end of each day, weekends and during vacation periods, resulting in an overall reduction in energy usage.

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Korean totem poles

Korean totem poles

This iconic Green Impact project came from the School of East Asian Studies (SEAS) team. Situated outside the CICS building on Hounsfield Road, these Korean totem poles were produced to celebrate 40 years of Korean Studies teaching by the SEAS department.

Inspired by the projects you’ve seen? To find out more about Green Impact and how you can get involved, contact greenimpact@sheffield.ac.uk or check out our webpage.

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