03 May 2016

Royal Free Hospital Medical Library runs competition to save the planet!

We asked the question – and you came back with some excellent answers.

The Royal Free Hospital Medical Library ran a competition to get staff and readers thinking about how we can be more environmentally friendly and live more sustainably. Here are some of the entries, and hopefully you will agree that they provide plenty of food for thought.
"Litter can be taken away – reduces waste/workload
If a user sees a PC not turned off properly – do it"
“Scrap paper from the printer or other places where people don’t use the whole sheet, should be put in a pile for people to use for scrap notes etc.”
“Try to reduce the amount of meat you eat.  Livestock requires far greater energy input that vegetables to produce and there are the issues of H2O use and antibiotic use."
“Being more aware of the food we buy and where it comes from – trying to buy local produce that hasn’t been flown across the world!”
“Use ink saving technology to cut down on the quantity of ink used in printing, e.g.: http://getdimples.com/. Grow herbs in a window box instead of buying fresh herbs in plastic from the supermarket. Buy vegetables and fruit loose from your local grocer, to avoid supermarket packaging.
If you are a meat eater, try to go vegetarian for three or four days per week, and use the money saved to buy better quality, more ethically sourced meat to have on the other days.” 
“Not having children
Not driving a car
Not taking a flight!"
“If everyone votes for the Green Party at future elections, they will bring in many new green policies, e.g. cheap solar panels for all.”

“Since the changes in rules and regulations that saw food and drink allowed in the Main Library, the space feels like it’s inundated with litter, whether scattered around desks and rooms, or spilling out of bins.

And with all the franchises on campus, there seems to be an accepted culture of mass consumption and disposable, over-complicated packaging. This has also meant that cleaning staff are dealing with a lot more mess and refuse, but with no financial incentive or recognition.

I think we would do well to take control of things rather than passively accept this decidedly unecological state of affairs. For starters, my suggestion would be to source and sell reusable coffee cups – or freely distribute them as part of welcome packs – and insist that only hot drinks in these cups are allowed through the library gates. All the franchises on campus should be prepared to serve students their drinks in these containers.

In my own personal utopia they’d also be making or transporting their food in reusable lunch boxes too, but probably best to gradually encourage more responsible behaviours.”

“I’ve seen these reusable, but cheap, coffee mugs, I wonder whether we could get sponsorship from any recycling group / UCL / NHS / UCL providers – and make them available to Library users, either free if we get full sponsorship, or at a discount if we don’t. Apparently Starbucks will now give a discount if you bring your own mug, perhaps M&S and Costa will follow their lead….”
“AC/heating systems based on demand response – the more people in library, the more energy can be directed to systems.  Also better temperature insulation – keeping windows closed – automatic operated windows.  Also increase the use of LED lighting.”
"Some suggested websites for greener shopping:
  • Method (Cleaning products) 
  • Auro (Paints and finishes) 

The competition was judged externally by environmental experts from WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) and the winning entry was…
“In the winter, use a heavy duvet and a hot water bottle at night instead of leaving the heating on all night – it will save energy and you will sleep better!”


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