This month we are focussing on our Winter Switch Off campaign. We are encouraging staff and students to switch off appliances and equipment that don't need to be on over the Christmas period - how much energy can you save?

The Big Winter Switch Off - doing your bit

We are getting ready for the Christmas break and we need you to help prepare our buildings too. This helps us to be as efficient with energy use as possible, and reduce our carbon footprint. Heating times will be altered in some areas where there will be low or no occupancy, and returned to normal on 2 January, so some rooms may feel cooler than normal to begin with.

Most offices will be closed between Friday 22 December and Tuesday 2 January.

Before you leave for the Christmas break remember to:

  • Switch off your computer
  • Turn the monitors off
  • Turn any Christmas lights off
  • Turn plugs off
  • Turn off kitchen boilers, kettles and microwaves in the staff kitchen
  • Empty anything out of the fridge which may go off
  • Close windows and blinds


  • If your radiator has a thermostat, then turn this down to 1 or the * symbol.
  • If some of your colleagues leave the office before you but have left their computer or other appliances on, then use your judgement and turn them off, if you know they will not be needed. Remember to leave a note saying what you’ve switched off.
  • Look out for our classroom guidance posters and energy saving stickers in seminar and lecture rooms.

British Heart Foundation Banks

Having a clear out before Christmas? Remember you can donate any unwanted clothing, shoes, CDs, DVDs, books, stationery, small electrical items, sports equipment and clean bedding (do not include quilts, pillows, blankets or cushions).

  • Donation bins can be found at the below locations:
  • Eddington Tower (South) - Colchester campus
  • Keynes Tower (North) - Colchester campus
  • University Quays - Colchester campus
  • University Square - Southend campus

Our Sustainable Christmas Tips

  • Reuse gift bags from previous years.
  • Choose paper-based wrapping over foil-based. Perform the scrunch test to determine whether or not you can recycle it on Christmas day. Foil based-paper will bounce back open and paper-based wrapping will stay scrunched up. Foil based cannot be recycled.
  • Write a food shopping list and plan carefully to help you reduce the amount you may waste.
  • Turn off your Christmas lights when you aren't at home.
  • Give the gift of time, spending time with friends and family can be greater than any bought gift!
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, remember to recycle it in January in your garden waste collection.

Furniture Reuse at Essex

We have a lot of furniture here at Essex for reuse from desks, tables, chairs to filing cabinets and more! As a team we have introduced a furniture reuse scheme to reduce the amount of furniture going into the waste stream which is in a good enough condition to be reused.

If you have furniture no longer required of or have any requests, please try the below:

  • University-owned furniture (such as office items) can be advertised to other departments via Small Ads.
  • If these items are not claimed they can be collected and sent to the storage facility.
  • Damaged items can be removed by the Estates team. Please contact the Estates Helpdesk) in the first instance.
  • If you are looking to buy new furniture please consider the need – there may be other items available elsewhere on campus. Please try a ‘wanted’ ad on Small Ads for ad-hoc requests, or the Estates team.
  • A designated storage facility houses various pieces of furniture and we are working to make it easier to find and obtain used, but perfectly serviceable items on our campuses. Please contact the Estates Helpdesk) in the first instance if you have a request.

Thank you to everyone who has used the scheme in the last year, 163 items have been reused. This has saved 3170kg going into our waste stream which is the equivalent of the weight of 3 polar bears!