Act for sustainability at university

On this web page, we present different ways to make a practical contribution to sustainability at UZH. The list is not exhaustive, and we work to continually expand it.

Getting involved in a student-run sustainability initiative

Students have the opportunity to engage in a student-run sustainability initiative.

Student-run sustainability initiatives at UZH

Integrating sustainability in teaching

The Sustainability Team presents a non-exhaustive list of supporting tools for integrating sustainability in teaching.

Supporting tools for integrating sustainability in teaching

Business trips

Replacing business trips by virtual meetings

Although virtual meetings and presentations cannot replace all aspects of face-to-face meetings, they do offer many advantages and have by far fewer emissions than all travelling options. Aside from eliminating emissions (several tons of CO2 per person for a standard intercontinental flight), they also save time and money. The CO2 released by Internet use for a virtual meeting, on the other hand, generally amounts to just a few kilograms. 

Factsheet Business Travel

Travelling by train in Europe

For business trips within Europe, which cannot be replaced by virtual meetings, travelling by train is the most environmentally friendly option.  

Factsheet Business Travel


Bikes and public transportation require substantially less space and energy per passenger kilometer and also emit less CO2 per unit of energy than cars. Travelling by train also has significantly fewer emissions than travelling by car and travel time can be used productively. 

Factsheet Commuter Traffic

Food and Catering

Favoring vegetarian menus at the cafeteria

Taking the whole production chain into account, the cafeteria’s vegetarian meals generally leave a smaller ecological footprint than the average cafeteria meal.

Factsheet Food in University Life (PDF, 488 KB)

Ordering sustainable refreshments

The Guideline Sustainable Catering supports you in organizing sustainable refreshments.

Guideline Sustainable Catering (PDF, 278 KB)


Organising a sustainable event

The Guideline Sustainable Events describes aspects which need to be considered when organising a sustainable event.

Guideline Sustainable Events (PDF, 263 KB)

IT devices

Extending the service life of devices

Digital devices are made of rare materials and require high energy consumption in production. Moreover, the social conditions under which raw materials are produced – and the finished products manufactured – are often unacceptable. Extending the service life of devices is thus even more important than energy-conscious use. Devices that are no longer in use but still serviceable should be recycled for further use, for instance via the device exchange.

Sharing print media and avoiding printing of electronic documents

The actual use of print and electronic media is decisive for the environmental impact thereof. Sharing print media with other persons and not printing electronic documents are the best options. In case something needs to be printed, using a central printer has less environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions than using a workplace printer.

Factsheet Media Use

Pulling the plug from devices

Disconnect devices with high standby power consumption from the power supply, especially during long absences.

Paper and office supply

Using recycling paper

Since fall 2018, UZH has a one-paper-strategy: UZH offers only one type of copy paper in its store and recommends its employees to use this paper. The selected paper (Refutura) consists of 100% recycling paper and fulfils the strict requirements of the environmental label «Blauer Engel». By choosing this type of paper, you decide for an environmentally friendly paper: The production of fresh fibre paper causes more than 2.5 times more greenhouse gas emissions than the production of the paper of the one-paper-strategy (Refutura).

Life cycle assessment of different paper types

Reducing print jobs and printing double-sided

In 2018, UZH purchased around 110 t of photocopy and printing paper (excluding print products and envelopes). This can be reduced by conscious printing.

Factsheet Media Use

Platform for office supply

Instead of disposing unused office supply such as folders or envelopes, UZH employees can pass this on for free to other employees. Employees can either pick up the material themselves or have it delivered via internal mail.

Platform for office supply

Book cabin for book exchange

Instead of throwing away books, you can bring books which you no longer need to the book cabin in the main building, where others an take them for free.

Book cabin

Adjusting the delivered volume of UZH print media to the actual need

You can change your subscription of the UZH Journal and UZH Magazin individually.

 Adjust subscription of UZH Journal and UZH Magazin

For changes to the order of your department for the UZH Journal, please send an email to Fabiola Thomann. 

For changes to the order for the UZH annual report, please send an email to Marita Fuchs.

Disposal of Waste

The Waste Disposal Guidelines define how to dispose waste properly at UZH. Short information on the disposal of general waste, paper/carton, glass, PET bottles, metal, aluminum, printing cartridges and Nespresso capsules can be found on the website for UZH staff.

UZH for staff: Disposal of General Waste

UZH’s Waste Disposal Guidelines

You can find further recycling stations on the website Recycling-Map.