Paper consumption is one of the biggest contributors to deforestation with around 40% of the planet’s industrial logging going into the production of paper. It also uses high levels of energy in the production process and all of this increases greenhouse gas emissions, adding to the threat of climate change.
As well as deforestation and energy usage, paper waste is also a major issue and represents a large (and often avoidable) proportion of waste sent to landfill. There are many ways in which we can help tackle the issue of major paper consumption, including cutting down on how much paper we use in the office.
Paper use at Queen’s University:
Here at Queen’s, we are committed to reducing the levels of paper consumption in the office. We already use paper and other office supplies that are produced using wood from FSC certified products. These products are sourced from biodiversity friendly forests and encourage sustainable reforestation.
The University goes through 11, 290 boxes of A4 paper a year – around 28 million pages. If we stacked all that up, it would be approximately 2823 metres high, which is roughly the height of 96 Lanyon Buildings.
If all staff cut down on paper consumption by just two pages a day per person, there would be an immediate 5.5% reduction in our paper use. On average, each member of staff goes through 37 A4 pages a day – so consider do you really need to print every single page.
Ways you can contribute:
- Recycle paper waste whenever possible; paper is easily recovered and recycled, so make sure to place it in the correct recycling bin and not in a general waste bin.
- Reduce your paper consumption and email when possible. When it is necessary to print or photocopy, make sure you do so on double sided pages to greatly reduce the amount of paper used.
- Try to ensure that there are enough paper recycling bins throughout the University for everyone to easily recycle their waste paper – staff can request more of these on Plan On.
- Collect incoming envelopes and reuse them in preference to new envelopes.
- Staff should measure paper consumption (per ream/per printed sheet) and communicates performance to colleagues; knowing this will encourage staff to reduce the amount they are using.
- When organising group meeting or meetings within a department, request those attending try to reduce the amount of items that they print for this.