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Paper, printed matter and office supplies still play a prominent role in the life of any university. The carbon emissions resulting from the use of paper at UZH in 2018 amounted to around 170 tonnes. Since fall 2018, UZH and ETH Zurich have been pursuing a “one paper” policy. The UZH materials center sells only one kind of paper (Refutura), which is made of 100 percent recycled fibers and meets the stringent criteria of the Blue Angel ecolabel. It’s also available on P4U, the UZH purchasing platform (see below).
From ink pads and hanging file folders to print cartridges and whiteboard markers, most office supply storerooms have items that people in the team no longer need, but which are still usable or as good as new and are frequently used and stocked up on in other departments. UZH’s very own Office Supplies Exchange is a platform for trading just these kinds of things. If you have files, presentation folders, scanners, or office containers to give away for free to other UZH departments, it’s a straightforward matter to post them on the online platform. This is also the place to look to see if the item you need is available for free on the exchange.
Any department can use “Purchase for you” (P4U), UZH’s in-house procurement platform, to buy everyday items and consumables such as IT accessories, books, office implements, lab equipment and tools. With the purchase process standardized all the way from ordering to payment, the system is very efficient. The idea is to save personnel and financial resources by means of digitized workflows and coordinated procurement.
A recent development is that sustainable products are now marked with a green leaf in the P4U catalogue. If you want to help protect the environment, you can choose these items. At present, the marked items are those that are designated sustainable by the supplier based on recognized eco-labels and fair trade certificates. From next year, UZH intends to define its own sustainable procurement criteria and align them with suppliers. The goal is to take an even closer look behind the products and get transparent, honest information about how they’re manufactured, transported, stored, traded and disposed of.
What do you do if you’re finished with your thriller, have a textbook you haven’t used, or someone has given you a book you’re not interested in? Provided they’re in good condition, you can bring everything from novels, travel guides, journals and works of fantasy to the free book exchange library in the UZH Main Building. Initiated by the Association of Infrastructure Staff (VIP), the mini-library is housed in an old telephone kiosk right by the main entrance. It works on an exchange basis: Leave the latest Martin Suter crime novel for another fan to pick up, and you can take a vintage edition of Heidi, a vegan cookbook, or a Chinese coursebook for beginners. In mid-September every year the VIP also organizes a book exchange in UZH’s main building (KOL-E 11). Dates
Alice Werner, translated by MIchael Craig