Living in Zurich

Below you will find a list of resources, tips and sustainable options and alternatives for your stay in Switzerland. 

The UZH Sustainability Team has lots of information ranging from general tips to individual recommendations  on how to make your everyday life at university more sustainable. Further, there are a number of great and easily searchable initiatives that bring together ideas for conscious consumption in the city of Zurich including city district maps etc.

Travel and Commuting

There are plenty of options to travel sustainably within Zurich, Switzerland and Europe. Within Zurich, UZH offers bicycle parking at each of its sites. 

Trains

Swiss Federal Railway (SBB)

Overnight trains are an excellent alternative to flying in Europe. It is also always worth comparing different providers as prices can vary for the same routes:

Bicycles

Bike sharing within Zurich: 

Züri Rollt

Special flea market for bikes ("Velobörse"): Provelo Kanton Zürich (in German only) 

Food

Sustainability is also important when it comes to eating and drinking on campus. Every UZH canteen and restaurant has a vegetarian option and the Rämi 59 specializes in vegan food. 

Canteens at UZH

Canteens at ETH

The tap water in your flat or student room, in any public building, and from the numerous public drinking fountains is of excellent quality all over Switzerland. Keep in mind that over its whole life cycle a liter of mineral water in a glass (or PET) bottle causes about 200 times (glass bottle) or 400 times (PET bottle) more greenhouse gas emissions than a liter of tap water. For many of the food and drink options on campus you can bring your own reusable lunchbox or cup. In UZH cafeterias every 11th coffee is free if you bring your own cup. 

Factsheet "Food in University Life"

Sustainable Food Policy City of Zurich (PDF, 3 MB)

You can buy locally sourced and seasonal food at local street markets. Bring your own reusable bags to avoid additional waste. 

Consumption in General

You can find lots of “Brockenhäuser” (second-hand shops) all over Switzerland by searching the web. There you can buy second-hand items ranging from furniture and household appliances to clothes. You can also donate items that you no longer need to these shops. There are also numerous (seasonal) flea markets where you can buy and sell second-hand items. 

You can also buy or sell second-hand books on several online platforms.

Uniboard (in German only)

UZH Marktplatz (for all kinds of things)

Waste Disposal

In Switzerland, recyclables such as paper, glass, PET or electronics are separated and disposed of separately. Each recyclable material has specific collection points and/or dates for regular collection organized by postcode. The app of the City of Zurich includes a reminder feature to help you remember upcoming collection dates.
Recycling map

App (in German)

Helpful information from the International Scholars Center

Meet People and Get Involved

A great way to get to know new people and contribute to sustainability at the same time is to join one of the many student initiatives at UZH and ETH that promote sustainability aspects. 

At UZH

Sustainability Week

At Irchel Campus you can also find a communal student garden, "Strebergärtli", where you can get your hands dirty and grow and harvest vegetables. An equivalent, "Seed City", can be found on the ETH Campus Hönggerberg.

You can get the latest information on sustainability at ETH and UZH and related events by registering for the newsletter of the ETH and UZH sustainability teams. 

Many neighborhoods in Zurich have “Gemeinschaftszentren” (community centers), where you can meet people, visit flea markets, join urban gardening initiatives and much more.

List of "Gemeinschaftszentren" (in German)