Start a New Christmas Tradition

The countdown to Christmas has just began! We are all busy running around for Christmas. Shopping, decorating our houses, baking cookies and, the most exciting part of all, opening the little windows of our advent calendars. This year, add a new Christmas tradition to your festivities, a Reverse Advent Calendar. What is it? Why should you make one? Keep reading to find out!

A reverse advent calendar is really simple: instead of opening the door to a chocolate, you do the giving. Simply pick 24 food items and then drop them off with a charity or foodbank.  They’ll use them to ensure people in your community don’t go hungry this Christmas. There’s no need to buy any food. Before you head home for the Christmas break, why not check the back of your cupboards for any tins and packets that are starting to gather dust? Donate these rather than letting them go to waste!

You can take your box to Real Junk Food Project @ All Hallows’ Café or a food bank in your area.

What items should I select? Here’s a list to help you sorting them out:

  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Pasta sauce
  • Long life milk
  • Long life fruit juice
  • Tinned or packet puddings
  • Tinned fish
  • Tinned meat
  • Packets of biscuits
  • Rice, pasta or noodles
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee
  • Jam
  • Soup
  • Cereal
  • Tinned Tomatoes
  • Chocolate (of course!)

Staying in Leeds for Christmas? TRJFP at All Hallows’ is opening its doors on Christmas day for an incredible lunch. Get festive and bring your friends to celebrate a merry, generous and colourful Christmas in good company! Find more details and book your place here:

Have a Fantastic Christmas break!


Campus Beehives: Honey Extraction Process

The following slideshow illustrates how we recently extracted and jarred honey from our campus apiaries on the laidlaw roof and near the SEE building. The finished honey will be on sale w/c 23rd of October but will have probably sold out by the end of the week! (You can buy these jars from the Ziff, Pure (Worsley) and Business School Cafes for as long as stocks last)


1. Uncapping the Frames
Honeybees preserve the honey by using wax cells to cap it. The tops of the cells, or ‘caps’, need to be removed to extract the honey. Most frames will have honey on both sides, so both sides needs to be uncapped. A double edged knife is perfect for this, and stray cells that have not been uncapped are scrapped away with a metal comb.

2. Spinning the Frames
Two uncapped frames are placed in the extractor in a balanced position, and the handle is spun for a few minutes until the honey has been forced out of the comb and dripped down. The frames are then turned over and the process is repeated so the honey in the other side of the frame is released.

3. Filtering
The valve on the extractor is opened and the honey is filtered through a coarse and then a fine mesh filter. At this point, the wax cappings are also placed on a filter to left to let any residual honey drip through. Not a drop wasted!

4. Jarring
Once the all of the honey has been extracted and filtered, it is separated into jars, a break seal sticker is put on to make sure we know that no jar has been opened before first use. Our UoL stickers are placed on the jar to complete!

5. Sale
The finished product  goes on sale at Great Food at Leeds outlets around campus and completely sells out within a few days!

The Big Annual Crocus Planting

On the 18th October we will be running a crocus planting event, this should be a fun opportunity to get out over a lunch period and meet some of the sustainability team. The real importance of our annual crocus planting is to ensure there is a range of flowers on campus all year round, not only to provide for our bees but also to give some life and exuberance to the University through the bleaker months. The commitment to biodiversity on campus is evident through the beehives we have at several locations, but we need staff and students to help our bees and ensure the campus stays vibrant year-round, while also providing habitats for invertebrates. After a great year in which we gathered upwards of 95 jars of honey from University hives we are looking to keep up the strength and numbers of our bee populations. Take a look at our Biodiversity page for more information on our strategies

The Big Annual Crocus Plant volunteer sessions are open to everyone, but also provide a great opportunity for anyone who is part of the Green Impact scheme to show staff participation and awareness of sustainability events on campus.

Equally, no experience is required at all, if you fancy getting out and about for an hour make your way down to behind Edward Boyle Library (near the Stage@Leeds building) on the 18th October.

Signing up on our Facebook event page and let us know which session you would like to attend  – 12pm-1pm or 1pm-2pm  – by emailing the sustainability department at


New Recruits!

September brings a new term, new modules, new opportunities to get involved in clubs and societies and a re-energised campus, ready for the academic year ahead. September also brings two new team members to the Sustainability Service, our interns for the next year, Rory (Left) and Jonny (Right). Here is a little bit more information about their first month at the Sustainability Service and about the projects they are working on this year:

Hi everybody,

I’m Rory and I have just this month started my new role for the coming year as Sustainability Intern.

Having just finished my second year as a Geography (BA) student I am now looking forward to a year working on something I am passionate about with the Sustainability team to bring new ideas and enthusiasm to the role and decrease the negative impacts the University has on the environment through a range of campaigns.

I hope to make a real impact by helping pioneer new campaigns that the University is starting out on, as well as bringing energy to existing work such as the Green Impact campaign which I will be running for its final year. The work I’ve been involved with so far has ranged from helping out at the Bike Hub to chatting to potential volunteers at freshers fairs. I’m really looking forward to the diversity and potential impact of my role in the Sustainability team this year.

If you want to contact me directly about any of this work, email:

Hi all,

It has been a busy month for me at the Sustainability Service; I have truly hit the ground running. I have manned fresher’s fair stalls, fixed and rented out bikes in the Bike Hub and delivered induction talks to lecture halls filled with students only recently acquainted with the campus.

After 2 years studying on a Geography BSc degree, I am excited to swap essays for blog posts and newsletters, as I help the Sustainability Service with their ongoing aim of embedding sustainability throughout the University. I hope to be involved in a range of projects that try to increase the engagement of the staff and student body, so that the University can continue to cultivate innovative research and findings from the Living Lab testbed we all study and work in.

All the while, my approach to attracting students to what sustainability is all about is not to highlight what you are doing unsustainably, but to emphasise how easy and rewarding it can be to become an actively sustainable student and make a difference, whether it’s at home, on campus or by helping us here at the Sustainability Service.

If you would like to contact me directly about any events or opportunities to help us engage people with sustainability, email:




Reusable KeepCups and Water Bottles For Sale!


Reusable KeepCups

You can now buy a range of vibrantly coloured KeepCups from any of the Great Food at Leeds outlets on campus.  Once you’ve bought your KeepCup, you get your first drink free and then 10p off every time you use it! You will also get 10p off if you’re using any reusable mug, as well as a further 10% off with a refresh card. From a sustainability perspective, it’s a no-brainer; every minute over one million disposable cups are discarded to landfill and single use items (like coffee cups) account for over half of the plastic used in the world today. Most disposable cups are lined with polyethylene which makes them non-recyclable. Even disposable cups that are ‘compostable’ require commercial composting to biodegrade.

In contrast, the KeepCup ‘breaks even’  – in terms of the energy taken in manufacturing – after just 15 uses when compared to a disposable cup. This means every KeepCup used more than 15 times is saving energy as well as waste. There is enough plastic in 20 disposable cups and lids to make a KeepCup. Tested to 1500 uses, we estimate they will last at least three years. Over one year the KeepCup reduces water use by up to 90% compared to disposable cup. Buy your KeepCup from The Refectory or any of the 15 Great Food at Leeds outlets across campus. For more information about the cafe’s on campus go to: 


Reusable Water Bottles

It was recently reported that global usage of plastic bottles has reached one million every minute. This is compounded by the finding that 91% of all plastic goes unrecycled, despite plastic bottles being made from highly-recyclable material. If left unrecycled, the type of polyethylene terephthalate that plastic bottles are made from can take 400 years to biodegrade. So where does all this wasted, single-use plastic go? Based on current projections, it is estimated that by 2050, 12 billion metric tons of plastic will end up in landfills.

The University has taken measures to combat this by prohibiting the sale of bottled water in the LUU. To further embed sustainability at the university, we wanted to offer a desirable, reusable alternative to plastic bottles, which could be filled up at water points across the campus whilst reducing the amount of single use plastics going to landfill or ending up in the ocean. The bottles we produced feature an intricate design of the iconic Parkinson Building and are available to purchase from all Great Food at Leeds outlets across campus.

So if you’re concerned about waste, then it’s easier than ever to make a sustainable change on campus; get yourself a reusable bottle and KeepCup and you can immediately reduce your impact and never have to buy bottled water or single-use coffee cups again!


Do you want to play a key role in creating a truly sustainable university? Do you have significant experience of working in a senior sustainability role combined with a proven ability to lead and manage others? Are you passionate about having a positive impact on society whilst effectively driving forward institutional change?

We are looking for looking for a Deputy Director (Sustainability Service). For more information and to apply please visit:

Goodbye from Becky

I can’t believe I’m coming to the end of my internship!  This year has really flown by – in September I’ll be back at the University as a student completing the final year of my undergraduate degree in BSc Sustainability and Environmental Management.  This year has been an incredible experience and I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a range of projects covering so many aspects of sustainability.  I’ve certainly learnt a great deal and developed a number of skills along the way.

A highlight of my year has been overseeing Green Impact – it was great to mentor teams throughout the year and watch them achieve their goals.  I was fortunate enough to work with students and staff across campus from a variety of disciplines.

Organising the Sustainability Awards was another fantastic opportunity – I’d never have dreamt that I would plan an event of that scale!  I loved being able to use my creative side to design the awards and programme, and it was exciting to see my hard work come together after months of planning.  I was able to meet and work with so many people around the University, and the evening itself was a lot of fun.

It’s safe to say I’ve packed a lot into my year and I’ve got involved with as many projects as I could – no week was the same!  Some of the projects I’ve worked on include mapping biodiversity on campus, creating an infographic and website for the Easter Shutdown campaign, completing waste audits across campus and assessing the University’s travel data by completing the Scope 3 inventory.  I’ve certainly squeezed a lot in and I’m so glad that I did!

I’ll be back in September as a Sustainability Architect and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way, I look forward to seeing you again.

Jake’s Work Experience

Hi I’m Jake, and I have been working with the sustainability team over the past week. The team has given me lots to do over the time I have been with them and I have enjoyed every moment.

On my first day handshakes where given out as I was introduced to the every member of the sustainability team. I was then introduced to my first piece of work, biodiversity measuring. In preparation, I was given a map with areas of habitat marked out on it and a trundle wheel. I then used the map to locate specific sections of habitat, and the wheel to measure the sides of these sections, calculating the total area. The measuring was all done outside and on foot, luckily it was a sunny day!

After I had done some biodiversity measuring I was off to St George’s fields to meet another colleague, Mike, who was waiting with a beekeeper suit, of which I was given to wear. We were going to check on two types of bee hives that are found in there; a top bar and a national bee hive. I was able to help with the check by lifting one of the frames out and seeing whether the bees were healthy.

At the end of the day I was in the office, where I was given the responsibility to look and comment on the, soon to be live, Sustainable Training Module, which will be used to help people understand what sustainability is and what it means at the University.

The next day I was introduced to the ins and outs of the Living Lab programme, and asked to research how other universities are applying this concept. I then finished of the day with some more biodiversity measuring, of which all the data was successfully finished on that day!

On Monday, I was given a tour of the university and some of its labs which gave me an understanding of the large number that are available at the University. The rest of the day was spent researching and gaining more information on sustainability actions within labs.

On Tuesday morning, I helped conduct an i-Trees survey which is a Living Lab project looking to map all the tress on campus and their ecological and econimcal benefits. The survey I was part of involved determining the name (genus and species) of each tree being recorded as well as calculating the height, circumference of the trunk, how much light reaches the leaves of the tree, and the size of each canopy cover.

Aminah’s Work Experience

Hi, I’m Aminah and after about 6 weeks, I will be in year 11 for my final year of my GCSE’s at Roundhay High School. I have been here with the sustainability team for 2 weeks of work experience, and I’m so glad I have! The team looked after me really well, on top of giving me lots to do and learn. This whole experience has given me a much better understanding of what subjects I may pursue as I move onto A-level, because I can now link the subjects with degrees I learned about, that I may want to do.

On my first day (Monday), I got a huge tour of the University campus, which I’m really grateful for because if not I would have got lost countless times during these two weeks. It was also really interesting to see all of the different schools, and how much variety there is with degrees, that I before was oblivious about.

Tuesday was especially good, because a free breakfast was served due to 4th July, along with its supposed theme, which made me feel extremely welcomed. During the rest of the day, I was in a laboratory for the first time. Working with Jane-Marie, who is a laboratory manager in the School of Earth and Environment, where I was setting up for the Environmental Science Academy field trip about water ecology for the next day, and getting a head start with all I was to do the following day. This was incredible, and probably the day I learned the most.

The Wednesday and Thursday of my first week, was probably the highlight of my work experience. I absolutely loved being out on the field and discovering things for myself, and meeting new people. On the Thursday I was actually volunteering on the trip as supposed to the day before where I was taking part. Volunteering gave me a responsibility I wouldn’t usually carry, but did inspire me to volunteer more when I can, because I never knew how much I enjoyed it until then. I also think I will defiantly keep my eye out for more field trips in the future to get involved in, because it’s an amazing opportunity that I’ll kick myself if I miss.

To finish up my first week, I mainly stayed with the sustainability team, doing an online research task, where I learned about how other universities are tackling issues of laboratory sustainability, compared to the University of Leeds, and then using this information to suggest improvements to the sustainability team.

Overall my first week was super enriching for me with new experiences and information, and I would do it all again if I could. I never knew the extent of how interesting and engaging sustainability and the Earth & Environment subjects could be until now.

On the Wednesday of my second week I did some tree surveying as part of a research project on campus, where as a group we went out and recorded data about the trees in St. George’s field. We also tried identifying what they were, however it was quite tricky because there are so many variations of the same tree. It was a new experience for me and I’m glad I did it because it was a nice break, and the weather was lovely too.

For the other four days I stayed in the office and continued to develop on the research tasks and gather as much information as I could. I also attended a sustainability meeting. I think it was important for me to experience what a work environment was like, and I’m glad I have because I’ve come to find it’s not as daunting as I thought it was, and for the record…way better than school!

To conclude, my whole work experience has been phenomenal, thanks to the whole sustainability team, and I wish you all the best. A special thanks to Claire Bastin for offering me to come in the first place, I enjoyed it immensely, and I hope other work experience students share the same extraordinary experiences as I did.

Sustainability in the Curriculum: LUBS Commercial and Professional Skills Module Update

This year, Masters students taking the Commercial and Professional Skills module at Leeds University Business School were given the opportunity to work with the Sustainability Service as part of a consultancy project!

Posing as internal consultants, student groups were tasked to review the student and staff awareness of sustainability initiatives across the University and develop recommendations that could improve people’s knowledge of the Sustainability Strategy and what they can get involved in.

After initial meetings with members of the Sustainability team, groups went away and collected data using a questionnaire to gain a better understanding of people’s sustainability knowledge and activities that are already taking place. They also reviewed specific areas of engagement by the University, using their results to highlight gaps for improvement and make recommendations.

The student’s proposals ranged from utilising social media trends and behaviours, to increasing visibility on campus, and tailoring campaigns for specific audiences.

This is just one of the ways we are integrating sustainability into student learning as part of our commitment to giving all students the opportunity to study and be involved in sustainability.

Student Consultancy