UCL Ear Institute


Sustainability at the Ear Institute

Learn more about how sustainability is considered in our research and education across the board at the Ear Institute.

We embed sustainability in our choices on how we run our office and encouraging others to commit to more sustainable lifestyles. 

We take part in Green Impact and are delighted to have received Gold at the 2023 UCL Sustainability Awards.

As part of this we have made the following changes:

  • Ditch the disposable – mugs are provided for people to use for tea and coffee, at events and day-to-day we use glasses and plates.  
  • No more tissue – we have moved to tea towels to reduce the tissue we buy for kitchen spaces. 
  • Recycling – we have recycling and normal waste with clear signs on the bins, we also recycle our Nespresso pods from our coffee machine. 
  • Plastic free week – where we encouraged staff and students to consider 1-2 items which they could swap that would be either non-plastic or reusable (e.g. to ditch more disposables). 
  • Offer dairy milk alternatives including Oat and Soy milk and encourage staff to try them 
  • Organise events and talks on sustainability areas including an upcoming ‘Festival of Sustainability’ in May 2023. 

We’ve also supported projects across the EI including our Roof Garden which was built from disposed pallets found on Kings Cross Road, and now supports a thriving insect community, and improving bike storage in plans for a new yard space. 




We strive to ensure our laboratories are working sustainably given the impact of labs on carbon footprint is 203 higher than the same area of office space. 

We take part in LEAF and are delighted to have achieved Gold in 2023, an achievement that was celebrated at the 2023 UCL Sustainability Awards.

We’ve applied for and been awarded 2 small funds to advance our sustainability initiatives including for glass pipettes in 2022, and in 2023 for a plasmid DNA ladder project run by Dr Stephen Terry. 

Changes we have made as part of LEAF: 

  • Provide glass pipettes to replace plastic serological pipettes 
  • Wash and reuse centrifuge tubes 
  • Reduce plastic in consumables bought including no more polystyrene racks for centrifuge tubes 
  • Only buying consumables for the whole lab on Fridays so more orders are transported together 
  • Using Warpit to rehome equipment and using UniGreenScheme to find equipment/accessories we may need before buying new 
  • Moving to reusable fly vials for our drosophila stock 
  • Putting in place schedules for autoclave runs to ensure maximum capacity is reached 
  • Holding talks from external speakers on ULT freezer energy consumption and green chemistry. 


We ensure all our BSc and MSc students are given an introduction to sustainability in their first week.



We hope to embed sustainability into all of our student’s education, with a specific focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and help our future Audiologists and Scientists understand how these apply to their work. 

We’re also looking at consumables and PPE used in our clinical skills lab to ensure they’re purposeful not wasteful. 

SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing’ – our students will be healthcare practitioners so will be working to ensure their patients have good health, ‘

SDG 10: Reducing inequalities’ – our students will be working with the Deaf community and those who are hard of hearing, so are the forefront of ensuring these patients have access to technologies that can improve their hearing if they wish.

 ‘SDG4: Quality education’, we can ensure that our future audiologists are working to advocate for their patients in their healthcare choices. 



Faculty Sustainability Pledges 

The Faculty of Brain Sciences has a Faculty Sustainability committee and each department and institute is incredibly supportive of each other’s individual goals. We as a Faculty have made sustainability pledges including:

  • Pledge 1 – By next academic year (2022-23): Faculty implements Powered by Plants initiative.
  • Pledge 2 - By next academic year (2022-23): Faculty develop an implementable plan to reduce energy usage from the baseline year of 2018-19.
  • Pledge 3 - By next academic year (2022-23): all Division and Institute Executives and all-staff meetings to include sustainability as a standing item once per term.
  • Pledge 4 – By end of 2022-23 academic session: Each Division & Institute achieve gold in Green Impact & LEAF (where relevant).
  • Pledge 5 - Sustainability included in each student's curriculum and induction (Faculty Sustainability Committee to work with Faculty Education Committee to achieve).



Want to get involved?  

EI Staff/PhD students: Visit our Sustainability Channel on the EI Internal MS Teams page, and come to our Sustainability committee meetings, 1st Wednesday of each month, 10-11am.

EI Students: Email ear.admin@ucl.ac.uk and they will put you in touch with the sustainability lead.