Sustainable UCL


Kick-start the year with a sustainable resolution!

22 January 2024

Have you thought about your New Year's resolutions yet? First-year Student Sustainability Ambassador, Jenessa Diep, encourages you to take one of these 10 steps to live more sustainably in 2024!

Change starts here on purple background

Author: Jenessa Diep, Student Sustainability Ambassador, BSc Human Sciences, Year 1

Have you thought about your New Year’s resolutions yet? Perhaps living more sustainably can be one of them!

2024 marks a brand-new year for Sustainable UCL, and they will be putting even more emphasis on UCL's long-term goals, with the development of a new UCL Sustainability Plan. By considering one of these actions as a New Year's resolution, you can personally contribute to a more sustainable future at our university and beyond! 

1. Take part in 'Veganuary'!

Did you know that all of UCL’s food shops on campus have plant-based options? Or that all of UCL’s cafés offer oat milk as default, at no extra cost? By consuming less meat and dairy, you can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 75%.*  

2. Ditch the disposable! 

Keep cup

Did you know UCL staff and students go through over 250,000 disposable coffee cups per year? Consider drinking your oat milk-infused coffee from a reusable cup like the ones we offer on campus. You can help reduce waste and avoid a 50p disposable cup charge – win, win!  

3. Volunteer! 

Why not try gardening, tree-planting or getting involved in restoration? The Student Union partners with numerous organisations across London, offering over 300 volunteering opportunities open to all.  

4. Have your say! 

Have ideas about how you could improve sustainability at UCL? This year, Sustainable UCL is creating a new Sustainability Plan, set to launch in Spring 2024, and is inviting students to have their say through the next Student Sustainability Forum. Share your thoughts with like-minded students and staff on 24th January.  

5. Join UCL’s 28 Days of Sustainability!  

From 12th February to 10th March, Sustainable UCL is launching the 28 Days of Sustainability Campaign, and want you– our incredible students and staff– to be the driving force. This is your chance to run your own sustainability initiatives and events, or simply dive into the action throughout the month. 

6. Get on ya bike!  

If you can, try reducing carbon emissions by skipping a bus or train journey to campus, and walking or cycling instead. Maybe you’ll find yourself noticing and appreciating London’s small quirks. You can also hire a bike, or even get your own bike fixed at one of UCL's upcoming Bike Bonanzas. 

7. Reduce your waste! 

Whether it be food or plastic, there is no doubt that waste is a big issue in sustainability discussions. UCL are aiming to reduce waste per person by 20% and you can help. Try taking a shift as a Zero Food Waste volunteer to help redistribute excess food, or signing up to Too Good to Go to pick up tasty leftover food from selected UCL cafes. 

8. Check before you chuck!   

Image of recycling cans

While reducing your waste, make sure to be mindful of what you’re recycling. Familiarise yourself with recycling labels and ensure that items stay in the loop by disposing of them in the correct places.  

9. Unleash your second-hand style!  

Thinking of switching up your wardrobe this year? Instead of buying new, go for second-hand at various charity shops across London and come to Sustainable UCL's monthly Swap Shop events to find and exchange pre-loved items. The next one is 26th January.  

10. Connect with nature!  

Explore London beyond its skyscrapers and escape the busy city by taking some time to enjoy nature at one of the 3,000 parks found across London. There are also several small green spaces on campus too, so why not enjoy your lunch at Gordon Square or Cartwright Gardens?  

Stay in touch:

There is much work to be done to make UCL a truly sustainable institution and we can't do this without the help of our incredible staff and students. If you’d like to learn more about sustainability at UCL and opportunities to get involved, please stay in touch: 

Related links: 


* Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-023-00795-w