skip to content



As part of Spotlight on Energy month, teams of staff and students have been hard at work greening their workplaces! A workshop held in early February kicked off a focused month for the Green Impact teams representing departments, buildings, labs and colleges across the University. As well as the prestigious end-of-year awards on offer at the ceremony in June, teams were competing for a special prize for completing the most actions in their workplaces during the month of February.

Read on for five of our favourite actions that have been carried out by Green Impact teams, plus details of the competition winners…


No birdbrains at Cambridge University Library!

In the 600th anniversary year of Cambridge University Library the small birds that live in the trees near the building will also be celebrating.  From this year they will be able to raise their young in three fantastic Library-inspired bird boxes.  Two of the boxes are double-deckers modelled on the iconic design of the Library’s tower, while the third is a cleverly-designed dwelling in the style of a pile of books! The bird boxes were made by the Library’s carpenters using wooden offcuts and sustainably sourced materials. Careful attention was paid to ensure the holes were sized correctly to attract smaller birds so they can expect to welcome many generations of 'aves' to come.

The birdboxes are just one of the actions the Library is taking to improve biodiversity around their building, part of the Library's aspiration to achieve a Green Impact Gold award this year.


Coffee innovations at Obstetrics & Gynaecology Department

Did you know that coffee is actually a fruit? This is one of the fascinating facts that came from an initiative in the Obs & Gynae Department, who looked into reducing the waste to landfill resulting from used coffee grounds, one of the main elements of their office waste stream. The team researched alternative uses for coffee grounds to encourage ‘thinking outside the box’ on recycling, and communicated these to their team. Some of their suggestions for alternative uses of coffee grounds are really innovative, including:

  • using it as fertiliser by adding directly to the soil, or making a liquid feed (by mixing approximately 10grams of grounds to every 1 litre of water).
  • adding it to your conditioner for super shiny hair (used once a week it can even aid hair growth).
  • using it on an open fire place to help clean it, and even to prevent ashes flying around.
  • using it to remove stains from dark wood.
  • using it in marinades to add a culinary twist on meat dishes.
  • mixing it with body moisturiser to help reduce the appearance of cellulite.

The team is currently also investigating funding options to upgrade the lighting in their department, one of a number of initiatives the team is working on to cut their environmental impacts and hopefully achieve a Green Impact ‘Gold’ award this year!


Digging for green victory at CISL

The staff green team at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, having achieved a Gold award last year, are going for ‘Green Impact Excellence’ this year. An excellence award requires the team to devise their own environmental project, for which the team opted to focus on 'sustainable food at work'. As well as looking at food procurement for events they run, they have also been hard at work in their very own office garden! We’re hoping to get an invite to see (eat?) the fruits of their labour!


Modern and Medieval Languages opt for Information-age communication!

Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) completely re-vamped the 'Green' section of their website, turning it into a mini-website in its own right with links to news stories and important related websites, pictures, plus loads of information and suggestions about how MML staff can help to achieve the department's green aspirations. We think it looks great, but don't believe us - why not have a look? You can also find the page on a new dedicated page we've set up to link to other green teams' pages across the University.


Student engagement in full swing at Emmanuel College

The Green Impact team at Emmanuel College are aiming for a ‘Colleges’ award this year. The team have been hard at work on a number of eye-catching events and communication initiatives. These included a Vintage Fashion Fair and homemade cake sale, which aimed to raise awareness of the availability and diversity of second-hand clothes, whilst at the same time raising money for a range of charities. They also held a talk on Climate Change, aiming to encourage students to think about how it affects their lives and what they can do about it.

The team have also placed recycling stickers on all undergraduate recycling bins in college accommodation, to encourage students to recycle and inform them of the correct items to recycle. To complement this, they also re-vamped the green notice boards around the college with new posters and information to update students on green initiatives.


Competition winners

Congratulations to the MRC Epidemiology team who won the prize of a luxury tea hamper by completing an absolutely astounding 76 Green Impact actions! An honourable mention has to go to the Corpus Christi College team who only just missed out on the top prize, completing a fantastic 73 actions. All of the teams taking part deserve huge credit though, for completing a quite incredible total of 569 green actions between them! A random draw of all 30 teams who completed 2 actions or more was carried out to decide who receives the 2nd hamper, and was won by the Psychology Department team, congratulations to them.


Getting involved

To read more about Green Impact and how you can get involved, visit our website. You can also register for the Green Impact online workbook if you're a member of staff or a student at the University, to find out what’s involved in taking part. Alternatively, email us with your questions about Green Impact.