UCL Department of Geography


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The Department is working towards improving its environmental sustainability by using less, re-using more and recycling where possible. We aim to consider our environmental impact in all areas of our work.

Environmental Policy

It is the policy of UCL Department of Geography to conduct its business ethically and fairly, and in an environmentally sustainable manner, in accordance with the UCL Environmental Sustainability policy. Accordingly, members of the Department will endeavour to

  • Reduce energy use
  • Reduce water use
  • Minimise waste
  • Purchase ethically and sustainably
  • Identify and manage risks


These actions will be carried out in the manner laid down in the Department’s Arrangements for Environmental Management.




Why not have a look at our interactive PDF's. The clickable "Guide to recycling" shows you where to put your unwanted items and the clickable "Services & Sustainability Map" shows you what facilities and services are located where in our North-West Wing including recycling, printing and safety.

NB the Interactive part of the PDF works best if you view via Acrobat Reader.

Recycling Interactive Thumbnail.jpgwhitespacer.jpgwhitespacer.jpgGI PB Floorplan 2014 Thumbnail.jpg


Head of Department - Prof. Jason Dittmer

Environment Officer - Eileen Cheng

Green Champion - Miles Irving

Env. Risk

Environmental Risk Assessments are currently being carried out as part of the Health and Safety Risk Assessments. Ultimately the Department will be encouraging separate Environmental Risk Assessments to be completed for all aspects of work.

Info & Resources


Arrangements for Environmental Management

Anything not covered in this section please speak to your Green Champion or Environment Officer




UCL operates a two-bin system across the estate for mixed waste and food waste:
1. Food waste should be disposed of in a caddy or bin with a RED bin liner
2. All other general waste (paper, plastic, card, glass, etc) should be placed in a bin with a CLEAR bin liner.

This waste is sorted after collection and recyclables separated out by the contracted waste handler
These waste streams are the same for both communal areas (e.g. department kitchen / common
room) and offices. Please do not put Hazardous Waste or Sharps in these bins.

Batteries can be recycled in the Battery Bins located in the North-West Wing Main Hallway
and Bedford Way Foyer.

Any unwanted UCL purchased computer equipment can be left with your Green Champion, including, mice, corded telephones and keyboards (some of which are donated to the UCL Creche)

Toner and Ink Cartridges are collected by the Drawing Office and recycled via UCL Estates, though
with the new UCLPrint system this may be phased out. They are sent for processing through the
'Each One Counts' scheme. For further details please see

Used Postage stamps are collected for the Charity "Hearing Dogs" and collection boxes are located
in Departmental Post Rooms


Use WARPit!

WARPit is an easy to use online portal allowing staff at UCL to redistribute (give, loan or share)  resources legally and conveniently within UCL and beyond. The tool makes it easy for staff to find  others with spare equipment and resources. It's all about reducing procurement, saving on  waste disposal, making savings on purchasing and waste disposal costs, as well as avoiding  landfill and carbon emissions.

Why not have a look at our interactive PDF's. The clickable "Guide to recycling" shows you where to put your unwanted items and the clickable "Services & Sustainability Map" shows you what facilities and services are located where in our North-West Wing including recycling, printing and safety.

NB the Interactive part of the PDF works best if you view via Acrobat Reader.

Recycling Interactive Thumbnail.jpgwhitespacer.jpgwhitespacer.jpgGI PB Floorplan 2014 Thumbnail.jpg

Minimising Waste

Ways to reduce waste

Junk mail (Postal)

So Much unwanted mail is simply binned. Take your name off catalogue or journal lists.  It’s easy – either phone them up and ask to be removed or simply stick a ‘return to sender’ label on your unwanted mail and put it in the external mail box. This will reduce the amount of waste generated by UCL, Save UCL post room staff and Geography office staff from having to carry and sort unwanted mail.

Stickers can be found in Geography Postrooms

JUNK MAIL.pngscrap paper.jpg


Scrap Paper

We all print things out, that once read we no longer need, proofs of a paper or diagram. Obviously we should all try and print less, use double sided and where possible make handouts available via Moodle. But there is always scrap paper, keep unwanted single sided A4 sheets in a magazine box or paper box lid. Collect one from your Green Champion. Use the paper for making notes on, or donate to the UCL Nursery (via your Green Champion).

Used Envelopes & Packages

We all receive mail at work, why not consider re-using the envelopes? Sometimes the envelope is not viable for re-use, but often they are, especially larger more rigid envelopes. Also padded envelopes, boxes and tubes. The cost of replenishing the envelopes in our stationery cupboards could be reduced, Re-usable envelopes could be stored alongside the scrap paper. Don't forget used Postage stamps are collected for the Charity "Hearing Dogs" and collection boxes are located in Departmental Post Rooms.

Whole life cost?

When buying or ordering equipment, please consider the whole life cost of the item. Whole life costing takes account of the cost of a product or service over its life, from determining the need for it through to its eventual disposal and replacement. For equipment, for example, it includes the costs of maintaining and operating the product as well as its outright purchase, the cost of consumables, utilities, training; and the cost of disposal at the end of its life.
Research has shown that the purchase cost of equipment is often only a small proportion of the costs of operating it.

Reducing Energy

Ways to reduce energy consumption

Portable Heaters

Please report any issues with heating or cooling to your Estates Liaison. UCL no longer permits the use of portable heaters or coolers. They are only permitted if there is a problem with the temperature of your office or workroom. If you need extra heat or cooling, then contact your Estates Liaison, who will have your room assessed. Once the issue is resolved, the heater will be removed. As with all other electrical items, UCL does not permit heaters to brought in from home.


We have lifts in North-West Wing and Bedford Way, try to only use the lift if needed, the mechanisms used for powering use lots of electricity, by using stairs you will be saving electricity and helping yourself get a little fitter.

Rechargeable Batteries

Single use batteries are only available for specialized field equipment. In other cases please use rechargeables, your purchasing officer will advise you. When purchasing computer equipment you will be advised to get corded keyboards and mice, and if wireless versions are required then a charger unit and batteries must also (or have previously been) be purchased.

Air Travel

The Department does not permit the use of Air Travel for domestic flights. All travel bookings must be made through your Finance Administrator who will enforce this. Wherever possible use public transport. The department also has a number of Skype enabled machines and dedicated Skype headsets to help reduce the need of travelling in person to meetings.

Reducing Water

Ways to reduce water consumption

Refillable Water Locations?

There are 2 drinking fountains within the department that you can use to refill your own bottle or jug, rather than spend money on UCL catering supplied water for meetings, why not fill up your own instead. Crockery for meetings is also available for use at small meetings (obtainable from Maria) this saves using disposable plates and cups and gives a more professional feel to your meeting. We are working towards getting the UCL Catering supplier to offer this as standard to reduce the waste created by all UCL departments. When washing up the crockery or any of your own everyday mugs, try not to wash under a running tap. We are also trying to make it clearer to visitors what our recycling policies are.

Water Saving Ideas for the Lab

Washing dirty glassware out as soon as possible after use, can be much easier. Chemicals tend to set as encrustations on glass and once dried, can mean a lot of scrubbing and rinsing to remove the traces and therefore a lot more water use.

There are bowls to fill with water and detergents for your general 'washing up'. This eliminates the need to wash out 80 test tubes under a running tap.

Thinking ahead. When using glassware for various analytical procedures, they often need to be acid washed in advance. Ensure before you start that you know exactly what is needed, it can avoid having to carry out unnecessary repeated acid washing

When washing hands (or gloves) after lab work with soap and water, it is usually possible to turn the tap off while lathering and cleaning your hands, turning it on again to rinse.

When running distilled or deionised water to fill containers, or flushing it through, the ELGA unit may be run to waste, in order to reach maximum water purity before use. This water is absolutely fine for normal lab purposes. Filling a container with this waste will give a supply for washing out beakers, spraying through sieves, using to wet down specimens in picking and microscope work, or even washing hands. 

These ideas can also be applied to general washing up and hand washing in the rest of the department too.



Environmental Awareness Course

UCL has launched a new Green Awareness module via Moodle for all staff and students at UCL. This course introduces the key concepts of sustainability and what these mean for you at UCL. It also makes links to research and teaching so that you can develop an understanding of UCL's global sustainability influence.

Take the course: Environmental Awareness Moodle course

Adapt these Powerpoint slides to promote the course:
Student Induction UCL (PDF)


Text here

Green Impact

Green Impact

Green Impact is an NUS run programme to help groups to control their environmental impact. The Geography team is called "GI Geog".

GI Geog sml.jpg

About GI Geog

Set up in 2011 as the Green Impact Geography group, they strive to help make Geography more sustainable through the NUS project "Green Impact" located in the North-West Wing but also covering 26 Bedford Way Building. They are led by Miles Irving & Eileen Cheng and over the last couple of years the team has been successful in helping the department fulfil its desire to become sustainable.

Our previous e-newsletters are available to download

Newsletter 1.0

Newsletter 2.1

Newsletter 3.1

Newsletter 4.1

Contact us


Follow us on Twitter

Like Green UCL on Facebook

Find Green UCL online

FileGI Geog Top 5 Impacts
This file lists the top 5 environmental impacts identified by the GI Geog team.
FileLighting and Equipment management plan
Who is responsible for turning off your lights and computers ?- currently you are! Please make sure everything is switched off when not in use and help us to save energy.

What Green UCL have to say...

A new and improved workbook

We’ve made lots of changes to this year’s workbook.
Using feedback from across the institution, we’ve added plenty of new criteria to make the programme more effective, intuitive and fun.

There’s also the possibility of achieving even higher scores this year. Now particularly high-achieving teams can achieve a Platinum award for their efforts.

Building on your successes

In previous years, departments have created some amazing projects as part of Green Impact. For instance, the team of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences ran their own Green Awareness Day and also brightened up a grey area of Bedford Way by creating a garden.

But it's not all about big actions. By simply joining and using WARPit (a website for UCL staff to share resources and equipment), teams across the university are helping to save energy, resources and money.

A brilliant year ahead

This year, we’re aiming to help recruit and train students to work alongside staff in their Green Impact teams. Just let us know if you’d like student help, and we’ll get them trained up so they can take part.

We’ll also be running mini competitions to keep staff and students engaged with Green Impact for the duration of this year’s workbook.


Get Involved

Are you a NETpositive student?


NETPositive is a new tool designed for all students at UCL.

It’ll help you develop new skills, boost your employability and use your time at UCL for good. Go through the simple questionnaire on the following pages and it’ll provide you with a tailored action plan. Log on to find out about:

- Volunteering opportunities in your local community
- How to boost your employability
- Ways to save energy and carbon in your home
- Getting more involved in the campus community

Get started today: get information and tips tailored to your interests; improve your UCL experience and make a really positive impact. visit to get started and find out more