Sustainable UCL


Who saw the Giant Pacific Garbage Patch in the front quad?

30 October 2018

Any one walking through the quad this week would have found it hard to miss UCL's Pacific Garbage Patch art installation. Designed by artistic enterprise Adaptive Capacity and made with bottles recycled from UCL; it aims to represent the problem of plastic pollution at UCL.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

While it isn't as large as the real Pacific Garbage Patch (which is 3 times the size of France) and students and staff don't have to live amongst it, UCL's sustainability team (Sustainable UCL) hope it will get the community talking about plastics and consumption.

Disposable cup campaign
The Garbage Patch is part of the Ditch the Disposable campaign.  This kicked off in September with a new pricing system in campus cafes to reduce the 2764 disposable cups being thrown away every day at UCL. You may have also seen the biodegradable toothbrushes in the accommodation packs or reusable water bottles given out at the Welcome Fair. 


The team are also working to tackle lab waste and plastic from UCL’s hospitality and catering facilities. A number of students, staff and our suppliers are also involved in finding solutions – such as UCL Conservation, Plastic-Free UCL, the Green Economy Society, Student’s Union UCL, UCL Climate Action Society, Sustainability Champions and Lab Managers. As an individual, you can help too by reducing your plastic consumption through using reusable items (such as cups, cutlery, straws, moon cups or cloth make-up wipes) and switching to plastic-free items like bamboo toothbrushes, or solid shampoo and deodorant bars.


Sustainability Week

This week is also Sustainability Week, a festival of events to inspire students and staff to take action for a more sustainable UCL.Throughout the week we have been consulting on a new Sustainability Vision for UCL, that better celebrates the breadth of activity around environmental and social responsibility issues currently taking place at UCL.

Wild Bloomsbury
Through previous dialogue with the UCL community we are developing 3 sustainability signature programmes to take forward:
  1. Creating a Wild Bloomsbury – greening the physical area of Bloomsbury to increase wellbeing, reduce air pollution and flooding while promoting active travel
  2. Sustainable Stuff - reducing the impact of products that UCL buys by creating a circular economy model
  3. Climate Change: Our Response - transitioning UCL to a zero carbon organisation.

Each programme aims to utilise the research and work of UCL’s community, so that our students and staff are developing the solutions to our 21st century global challenges tested locally on our campus.

What do you want UCL to focus on in its next Sustainability Strategy?

Sustainability Board
Throughout the week the UCL community have had the chance to write down what they want UCL to focus on, but if you missed it you can also fill out this survey!


UCL Sustainability want it to be a strategy written, by the community, for the community, so please do fill out the form or get in touch!