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Gee Research Blog

Write About Research – A GEE Research Blog Competition

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:28:43 +0000

The GEE Research blog communicates UCL science with a wider, non-specialist audience, by providing short summaries of recent research in the department of UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment. This provides an opportunity to engage with a broad audience, including other academics, students, members of the public, and even businesses and policy-makers. It is a great […]

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Was Fermentation Key to Yeast Diversification?

Tue, 17 Feb 2015 15:30:43 +0000

From bread to beer, yeast has shaped our diets and our recreation for centuries. Recent research in GEE shows how humans have shaped the evolution of this important microorganism. As well as revealing the evolutionary origins of modern fission yeast, the new study published in Nature Genetics this month shows how techniques developed for detecting […]

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Planning for the Future – Resilience to Extreme Weather

Thu, 15 Jan 2015 15:13:14 +0000

As climate change progresses, extreme weather events are set to increase in frequency, costing billions and causing immeasurable harm to lives and livelihoods. GEE’s Professor Georgina Mace contributed to the recent Royal Society report on “Resilience to Extreme Weather”, which predicts the future impacts of increasing extreme weather events, and evaluates potential strategies for improving […]

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Forecasting Extinction

Mon, 05 Jan 2015 11:33:21 +0000

Classifying a species as either extinct or extant is important if we are to quantify and monitor current rates of biodiversity loss, but it is rare that a biologist is handy to actually observe an extinction event. Finding the last member of a species is difficult, if not impossible, so extinction classifications are usually estimates […]

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Changing Perspectives in Conservation

Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:15:44 +0000

Our views of the importance of nature and our place within have changed dramatically over the the last century, and the prevailing paradigm has profound influences on conservation from the science that is conducted to the policies that are enacted. In a recent perspectives piece for Science, GEE’s Professor Georgina Mace considered the impacts that […]

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We are Green Champions!

13 January 2011

UCL’s GEE staff and students are passionate about green issues and wish to do our best to help preserve the environment.  The following are Green Champions in GEE:

  • Professor Max Telford (Darwin Building)    
  • Dr Paola Oliveri (Darwin Building)   
  • Jane Dempster, Executive Officer to the HoRD, GEE (Wolfson House)  
  • Student Green Champion to be advised shortly
  • Please contact any of them with your green ideas!
  • Green Champions will attend and participate in plenary meetings of the Green Champions’ network and other smaller, local Green groups (for instance, those which might be set up in relation to particular UCL buildings/sites).

Message from Professor Stephen Smith, Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Steering Group, UCL, more

The UCL Environment website gives further information and outlines UCL's Green plan of action.

Please read UCL's Environment Sustainability Policy.

Here are some ways we are playing our part, more

OTHER USEFUL WEBSITES:

WASTE MANAGEMENT HELPDESK

WASTE MANAGEMENT: UCL Q&A

GEE staff and students take part enthusiastically in the UCL Recycling scheme, whereby all waste is recycled apart from:

  • food;
  • teabags;
  • polystyrene;
  • used tissues.

Ideas on avoiding wasting food can be found on the useful Love food, hate waste website.

In February 2010, UCL rolled out a bin initiative.  There are now dual action bins in the Quad: one side is for general waste and one for recycling.  In offices, small underdesk bins are being replaced by large bins – but there will be fewer of them on each floor.  Grey bins are for recycling matter and black ones are for waste matter.  Bins are labelled, but Estates & Facilities are working on producing clearer labels for the tops of bins. 

The success of the initiative will depend upon the bins being used correctly.  Careless disposal of food waste into the recycling bins can lead to an entire load of otherwise recyclable waste being sent to landfill, which defeats the object of the exercise.  Similarly, putting recyclable waste into the black bins will reduce the level of recycling achieved.  If the bins are used properly, it should be possible to recycle around 80% of office waste and so we have a very real opportunity to help to improve UCL’s environmental performance.

Evidently, there are a number of advantages: less office space is taken up by bins, the office looks prettier without a bin at every desk, and less cleaning time is required to empty them.  Staff need to save up waste and recycling matter and then deliver it to the appropriate bin.  However, this provides a good opportunity to give eyes a break from the computer screen and legs a break from desk-chairs! 

Waste Management

How are we doing? As at May 2010, UCL produced around 12 tons of waste of all types every working day.  The following figures are examples of what is generated for disposal each month:

Recyclable materials – 140 tons: paper, cardboard, cans, plastic mixed waste – 90 tons; polystyrene, food, electricals including computers – 3 tons; confidential waste – 5 tons; glass - 1.5 tons; hazardous waste - 20 tons.

UCL is re-using, or recycling, over 60% of this waste each month, assisted by the new dual compartment external waste bins.

What Happens Next?

UCL is committed to re-using and recycling as much waste as possible and is launching the following initiatives:

Batteries: brightly coloured battery bins are coming soon around the campus for the collection and recycling of batteries.

Food waste: we are now collecting food waste from the main kitchen.  In the first two months of this operation, we have diverted 0.4 tons of waste from landfill and converted this into energy equivalent to 48 KW or boiling 25 kettles for 1 hour!

Compost: new wooden compost bins have been introduced to enable our grounds maintenance staff to dispose of grass cuttings and leaves on site. This time next year, we hope to have converted this summer’s grounds waste into compost which can then be put back into the flower beds and planters around the campus.

Zero landfill: all material previously collected at the Bloomsbury Campus and disposed of in landfill will be diverted to a new energy from waste plant, from January 2011.  From January 2011, UCL will put nothing into landfill.

Page last modified on 13 jan 11 18:01