Sustainable UCL


Make your event sustainable

An NUS study has showed that over 80% of students want their university to be sustainable. We share some easy switches to reduce your environmental impact when organising events.

close up of people listening to a speaker

1 August 2023

Events are forward facing and usually make up our audiences view of whether UCL is sustainable or not.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/jeQkhGmGhlE


  • Communicate UCL's single use plastic goals to attendees;
  • Avoid single use plastic promotional items or gifts given out at the event;
  • Avoid plastic decorations or promotional materials;
  • Consider whether you need to give out free items at the event. 


  • Let your attendees know how to get to your event by public transport, cycling or walking;
  • Send them information on shower/cycling facilities and water fountains.

> Find out more about Sustainable travel at UCL.

Sustainable food and drink

  • Provide vegetarian food where possible;
  • Provide segregated bins for mixed recycling and food waste;
  • Encourage attendees to bring their own cup and / or water bottle and provide refill stations; 
  • Use reusable plates, cups, cuttlery;
  • Avoid individual sachets for sugar for milk.

> Read more on how to order sustainable catering.

'Powered by Plants' is a UCL-wide campaign to reduce the carbon footprint associated with UCL's catering.

> Read more about Powered by Plants. 


2/3rds of UCL's carbon emissions come from the goods and services that UCL buys. It is therefore critical we understand the impact and opportunities of UCL’s sourcing and buying decisions. 

> Follow our Responsible Procurement Guidance

Collaborate with student groups 

Zero Food Waste is a project at UCL that re-distributes food from where it is in excess to where it is scarce: from UCL cafés to homeless people. Contact them to see if they can redistribute food from your events.

Zero Food Waste.

UCL Conservation Group have launched a campaign against single-use plastics called Plastic Free UCL. Contact them for tips on how to go plastic-free at your events.

UCL Conservation Group.

UCell can power your events using hydrogen. Why not contact UCell to see if they can collaborate by providing clean energy and inspiring activities?


What else? 

  • Reduce paper - Send paperwork electronically ahead of the event so that you don’t have to print it out.
  • Use FSC-certified paper and cardboard when printing is necessary for signage and information.
  • Switch off - Designate someone to switch projectors off post-event.
  • Fairtrade – we encourage the use of UCL catering for events, which provide Fairtrade options across a full range of food and drink items.
  • Avoid plastic alternatives as they do more harm than good.
  • Score your event -  download our single-use plastic use event scorecard to find out how sustainable your event is and share your results using the link below. 

Upload your single-use plastic use scorecard​ →

Got any further questions about making your event environmentally responsible, or have ideas you'd like to share? Please email us at sustainableucl@ucl.ac.uk.