Artwork With an Environmental Twist

Final Year Fine Art student at DMU, Helen Gunn, has been producing some very interesting work around ecology  and sustainability and we thought we should share it with everyone.

This is the piece: ‘Broken – Crassulaceae’ 

The large sculpture was exhibited indoors and then installed in the DMU car park for a day in the summer of 2016.



The sculpture concerns a plant, ecology and migration. The form is based on a perennial sedum belonging to the Crassulaceae family which evolved 100-60 million years ago.

The eco-artist stated that the Crassulaceae ‘Is a popular ‘bought garden plant’ because it conveniently survives neglect.  By representing the flower umbel with toy vehicles I make comparisons between the plant’s longevity and the short-lived era of the automobile; between global auto trade with its brand divisions and Crassulaceae species hybridisation and global spread through natural and cultivated systems.  The reversal of car scale to plant privileges the sedum representation, disturbing typical hierarchies and honours Crassulaceae longevity, also plant capacity to absorb harmful CO2 emissions released by driven vehicles.  The sculpture is constructed from recycled woods.  By presenting it as ‘stem broken’ the perennial capacity for re-growth is acknowledged. Vehicles forming the umbel were donated by children.’

Helen also created another piece titled ‘Green House’.









The sculpture is made from hanging panels which are ‘sacrificial boards’. Wooden panels which are sacrificed during the fabrication of other projects.

Helen’s future work will focus on the changing climate and attitudes towards nature during this period.

Special thanks to Helen Gunn, for letting us discuss her brilliant environmental and Eco-conscious sculptures!

🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱

– Alexandra Kilcran, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

We Wish You a Sustainable Christmas and a Waste Free New Year! ♻️🎄

We Wish You a Sustainable Christmas and a Waste Free New Year! ♻️🎄

We know it can be easy to buy too much food, or waste a lot during Christmas, but by using LED lights, only buying food which you know you’ll eat and maybe a treat or two here and there, buying and using sustainable wrapping paper or just buying less overall, you can enjoy Christmas without it having a negative effect on the environment!

Here are some really useful websites with tips on how to have a more sustainable Christmas:

Friends of the Earth – 25 Eco-friendly Christmas Tips

The Guardian – 7 Tips for Smart Christmas Recycling

Recycle This – Recycling at Christmas

Recycle Now – Recycling at Christmas

The Huffington Post – Reducing Food Waste

Love Food Hate Waste – Money Saving Christmas

Leicester City Council – Christmas and New Year Recycling

Energy Saving LED Christmas Lights

The Guardian – Minimalist Christmas

One Green Planet – Upcycled Christmas Gifts




Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!! ♻️🎄

New Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner! 🌱

Hello! I’m Alex Kilcran and I’m the new Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner in the Estates Department of DMU. My job is to manage the Sustainable DMU social media accounts and encourage staff and students to think about their role in looking after our environment. We support a number of initiatives for students including NUS Student Switch Off and NUS Green Impact, FREE Park and Ride for staff and Dr Bike sessions held frequently.



I promise we do more than just hug trees!

Here are our social media accounts and other useful links, feel free to message our FB or Twitter accounts if you have any queries or wish to get involved further!

Facebook: Sustainable DMU

Twitter: Sustainable DMU

Instagram: Sustainable DMU

NUS Student Switch Off: NUS Student Switch Off InfoDMU Student Switch Off FB

FREE Park and Ride for staff: DMU Website     

Food Waste…at Home!


In an older post, I wrote about my experience at the EAUC Conference 2015, where within other things, I attended one workshop run by ‘Love Food Hate Food’, which aim is to raise awareness of the need to reduce food. They believe we can all waste less food by doing some easy practical everyday things at home. Wasting less food will ultimately benefit our purses and the environment too.

Food waste is a major issue in the UK. About 7 million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away from homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. It’s costing UK citizens £12.5bn a year and is bad for the environment too, because wasted food become garbage.

Usually students make the weekly shop by their own and often the portions are family-sized, so I will show some tips from the ‘Love Food Hate Food’ website to help your food stay fresh for longer and to avoid waste.

A lot of students don’t realise that fruit and veg, like carrots, peppers and apples, are best kept in the bag they come in as it keeps it fresher for longer. A shrink-wrapped cucumber for example will last around three times longer than a non-shrink-wrapped one.

Resealable packs for cheese prevent it drying out, particularly important in the fridge. If your cheese doesn’t have a resealable pack, make sure you wrap it well in clingfilm, foil or in a plastic tub. Also, your flat mates will be happy without the shared fridge smelling cheesy!

Lots of food comes in clever packs that are subdivided, so that you can use some now, some later. It is as simple as that!

Smaller packs of bread are great if you’re not going to eat a big loaf before it goes off. But if you buy a big loaf, why not freeze half and toast straight from frozen?

Packaging doesn’t just protect our food in the supermarket, in transit and in the home, it also houses lots of handy information on how to store it, how much to cook, when it should be eaten to enjoy at its best and whether it can be frozen, which all help us reduce the amount of good food we throw away. Keep an eye on packaging!

Last but not least, my very personal tip. If you live in a Hall of Residence or in a private house with other people, try to share the food that is going off shortly, rather than throw it away when it is too late! Sharing is caring and you will help the environment, as well your flat mates will be grateful and they will likely return the favour!




Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Food Waste Project around the Campus


At De Montfort University up to 84% of the wasted material has recycled. Few weeks ago I met Nigel Ward, the Waste manager, which told me that his team would have soon introduced a new trial on a special recycling: food.

Currently, there is a food waste collection service in the kitchen of three trial buildings: Portland, John Whitehead and Trinity House. This means the team is able to recycle even more and process the food waste in a way good for the environment, by collecting and putting unused food in a facility off site.

The Staff of the trial buildings can put in the “Food Waste” Recycling caddies the leftovers of their lunch or snacks during working hours, such as all cooked and uncooked food, both fruit and vegetables, bread or pastries and even tea bags.

Of course, recycling food means that only food can be disposed in the provided caddies. Therefore, food container, empty packaging and plastic cutlery should be put in different recycling bins. For example, it is possible to recycle empty sandwich packets, cling film and plastic cutlery in the plastic bin with the green lid.

The recycling team will monitor the Food Waste caddies every day and when the caddies are full, the content will be taken outside in a bigger bin. The external 240L food waste container are collected fortnightly.

Recycling food is good not only to help the University reducing the overall amount of waste, but it also enhance its ethical standard, because food is a primary and vital resource for mankind.


Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

Making a Greener Impact at DMU

This week is our Green Impact Awards Ceremony and for me it’s always one of the highlights of my year. I love it so much because it’s a great opportunity to celebrate real sustainability in action and real change at De Montfort University (DMU).
For those that don’t know, Green Impact is a project led by the NUS which has been running at DMU for the past 4 years. Through the project, teams of staff compete to see who can be the greenest by completing a series of environmental actions contained in an online workbook. Each of the actions in the workbook has allocated points and depending on the number of actions completed and points scored teams are awarded Bronze, Bronze+, Silver or Gold awards.
But Green Impact is so much more than just a staff environmental behaviour change project, which in itself would be pretty awesome. Perhaps Green Impact’s greatest contribution to the sustainability agenda is what it delivers in terms of the student experience, student employability and skills development. Let me explain further:
The participating Green Impact teams complete as many of the online actions as possible and submit their workbook. While the teams are creating greener workspaces through their activities we are recruiting a team of keen and enthusiastic DMU students to train as environmental auditors.
The volunteer auditors receive some top quality auditor training via the NUS on how to conduct environmental audits, what to look for and what evidence the Green Impact teams should be providing. The auditors then audit each of the Green Impact teams to ensure that the environmental actions have been completed to the required standard. The students provide feedback to the teams about how well they have done or if further actions are needed. This information forms the basis for the awards ceremony that takes place this week.
So not only do our student auditors get quality training on conducting environmental audits they also get firsthand experience of how to actually conduct an audit. And judging from the feedback I’ve received they really conduct an audit!
But perhaps more powerful than the skills and the training is the first hand experience of how staff at DMU are working to make the university a greener place. A clear demonstration that the activities of teams is not in any way green-wash; but that there is real dedication and a clear willingness to make DMU a more sustainable organisation. So evident is this dedication amongst the teams that auditors returning after the audits are really rooting for the teams and really want them to reach the award level they aspire to.
For me Green Impact offers so much to the sustainability agenda and this is why I enjoy the awards ceremony so much. This year will be even more special as so many of the student environmental auditors will be joining the Green Impact teams at the award ceremony to celebrate their successes.
And the future for Green Impact is looking good in Leicester and Leicestershire. Both universities in Leicester are taking part in Green Impact; students from the Faculty of Business & Law are working with LOROS through our BusinessWorks programme to deliver Green Impact; and Leicestershire County Council is also taking part in the project this year.
Green Impact offers so much to staff, student and participating organisations all while delivering environmental behaviour change. In short the project is an excellent way of delivering a greener impact at DMU.
Karl Letten
Environmental & Sustainability Officer