Monthly Archives: October 2022

Introduction to Sustainability at Newcastle University

Newcastle University aims to be net zero by 2030. Wondering how? Meet the team behind the plan…  

Ten years ago, Newcastle University’s Sustainability Team was created with just two employees looking after the University’s entire energy system. Today, we are a team of nine, responsible for environmental and energy management and driving improvement. 

Net zero by 2030 

The focus of most of our activity, at the moment, is net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. This target, among others, is in the University’s Climate Action Plan

The Climate Action Plan was created to address the climate crisis and our impact on it. The plan summarises the work carried out before publication, in 2021, and the targets we set out in a 10-point plan. We have been working on the 10-point plan (see below image) and are coming to the end of Phase 1. 

Importance of sustainability at Newcastle University 

 “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan OBE

Sustainability is the ability to ‘meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.1 In other words, it is the prominent need to cut resource exploitation to ensure there are sufficient supplies for generations to come. 

Sustainability must be a holistic approach, taking into account environmental, social and economic aspects.

Adopting a more sustainable way of life is not only essential to the protection of our ecosystems but also to economic growth and social wellbeing. Environmental issues such as climate change, plastic pollution and biodiversity loss have global effects, and most often affect people who are the most vulnerable, the most seriously. 

We know that we have to play our part in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Our Climate Action Plan outlines the action we want to take to reduce our negative impacts and increase our positive impacts locally and internationally. 

Upcoming event 

Interested in learning more about the Climate Action Plan? Why not attend our upcoming event? 

As we work on creating Phase 2 of the plan, we aim to look back on the previous phase and share our progress with the wider university community. Furthermore, we want to use the University community’s input to shape upcoming targets and goals. It is not something to be missed! 

Register now. 

And watch this space for next week’s blog post! 


  1. United Nations Brundtland Commission (1987). Available at: Sustainability – United Nations. (Accessed: 26th October 2022).

5 Tips to have a Green Halloween

This spooky season, the scariest thing might not be a ghost or a ghoul! Every year, millions of Halloween costumes and party décor are bought only to be disposed of straight after the holiday. In fact, a 2019 report by the Fairyland Trust, found that 7 million costumes Halloween costumes are thrown away every year. That’s the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles! To help combat this trend, we have put together some simple tips to have a more eco-friendly Halloween.

  1. Re-use, Repair and Recycle your Costume

Not sure what to wear this Halloween? Why not upcycle some of your old clothes! This are plenty of costumes you could create with very little effort and cost too.

If you can’t find any inspiration in your own wardrobe, why not organise a Halloween clothes swap? You can trade old outfits with members of your local community. This is a great way to not only get a ‘new outfit’ but meet new people.

Skip the queues! 30min+ waiting times reported at this Newcastle costume shop last year!

2. Get crafty with your Halloween Decorations

There are plenty of low-waste ways to decorate for Halloween. As well as reusing your spooky décor from last year, there are plenty of green craft ideas you can try! Decorate some old glass jars with some ghostly designs or use old cardboard to make tombstones.

If you want to buy some new decorations, check out your local second-hand shop. You can find some great treasures there which you can use year after year.

If you plan to use candles for decorating, make sure they are eco-friendly. The majority of candles are made from paraffin, a product made from unsustainable fossil fuels. Try using candles made from soy, coconut, rapeseed or beeswax instead.

3.  Use your pumpkins wisely

Pumpkins are an essential part of every Halloween- we buy 39.9 million every year! Nevertheless, a large proportion of these pumpkins are wasted and go uneaten. Make the most of your pumpkin by using the insides to make a delicious recipe. Our team particularly love these recipes for pumpkin dopiaza, banana bread and pumpkin cake.  

If your pumpkin is no longer usable after Halloween, make sure to put it in your compost bin.  Pumpkins left outside could be consumed by hedgehogs, making them ill thus, hindering their preparation for hibernation.

4.  Ditch the disposables for your party

If you plan on having a Halloween party this year, try to avoid using disposable plates and cups. These are often made of plastic which cannot be recycled and ends up in landfill. If you don’t own enough supplies, try borrowing from a friend or visiting your local second-hand shop.  

You can also set out clear recycling bins for glass and food waste. Not only will stop unnecessary waste going to landfill but will also help with your clean up afterwards!

5. Make your own Halloween Treats

If you plan to host a Halloween party, why not make your own treats? There are plenty of brilliant recipes for homemade Halloween snacks to choose from. From ghost cookies to pumpkin hummus you will be spoilt for choice!

If you do don’t want to hand out homemade treats to trick or treaters, buy packaged products from ethical brands. Look out for Fairtrade products or other independent certifications on packaging and check that the packaging is easily recyclable. If you have snacks left over that you won’t eat, share them on a food waste app such as Olio. This means another person can benefit from your amazing Halloween treats!

Have we missed one of your favourite Green Halloween tips? Let us know in the comments below!