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English Department


Sustainability at Work

In the “UZH Mitarbeitendenbefragung 2019,” many members of the English Department indicated that sustainable development was important to them. However, 80% did not believe that their position allowed them to contribute very much and 60% indicated that they were unsure as to how they might contribute at all.

The present document contains a list of recommendations how ES Staff members can help reduce the UZH’s ecological footprint and work toward a more sustainable use of natural resources (while the main focus is on environmental issues, we also encourage economic and social sustainability). Every little bit helps.

1. Acquisition and Use of Technical Equipment

  • Do not trash and replace equipment that is not actually broken.
  • Buy eco-friendly equipment that was produced under fair, sustainable conditions.
  • Turn off electronic equipment (except when instructed otherwise by the IT team).

2. Office Supplies

  • Reduce paper use (e.g. avoid distributing hardcopies, print double-sided, etc.).
  • Buy re-usable pens, use recycled paper, and re-use cardboard boxes.
  • Avoid plastic. If unavoidable, re-use.

3. Food: Lunch at Work, Drink Receptions, Dinners, etc

  • Avoid disposable cups, plates, etc. If unavoidable, use biodegradable ones.
  • Reduce eating fish and meat, or avoid altogether.
  • Buy organic, fair-trade, sustainably produced, regional, and/or seasonal products.

4. Trash: Recycling & Composting

  • Recycle glass, plastic bottles, paper, etc.
  • Compost rather than trash coffee grounds and other organic “waste” (green bin).
  • Consider ways of reusing materials before trashing.

5. Teaching

  • Present these recommendations to students, and encourage them to share their ideas.

  • Incorporate sustainability issues in your teaching (as course topic or in individual sessions).

  • Consider how sustainability could feature in further education courses for teachers.

6. Research & Academic Life

  • Reduce/avoid traveling by plane: attend fewer conferences, consider alternative styles of travel if possible, etc.
  • Compensate your carbon footprint (e.g. with
  • Encourage guest speakers & conference attendees to do the same.

7. Everyday Life

  • Turn off lights, computers, etc.
    Use public transport or bike to work. 
  • In winter, close doors in the hallways to preserve heat.
  • If room temperature is too high, don’t just open windows, but also turn down heating.
  • Use hot-water tap as little as possible.


  • Coffee and tea: organic and fair trade. (please note, I normally ask for coffee for less people than we actually are, since we often have leftovers)
  • Carafes and glasses for tap water
  • Juices and Sirups (organic, regional)
  • Milk: organic and not individually packaged, preferably in 0.5l containers
  • sugar: fair trade, not individually packaged
  • Wine: (organic, regional)


  • vegetarian, if possible partly also vegan
  • organic and regional (if possible, please mark in the offer)
  • seasonal (if possible, please mark in the offer)


  • only reusable dishes
  • as little waste as possible

More Information

For more information, you can also visit the UZH Sustainability website.

Weiterführende Informationen

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