How to Reduce Paper Waste on Campus

Did you know that paper consumption has such a big environmental impact it is a distinct category in greenhouse gas emissions reporting? Cutting paper waste reduces our carbon footprint and our department budgets. A few simple habits can make a big difference:

  • Tempted to use hand-outs in a presentation, meeting or class? Share material digitally instead. When you put resources in a box file, your students, colleagues or audience members can decide for themselves if they need a print copy. Bonus, they will not lose the paper you distributed and email you asking for another!
  • If you must print, make sure to choose "Double Sided" as the default setting on the printer.
  • Contact the Copy Shop to order paper with recycled content for your printer or Bizhub.

Need a little more guidance reducing your paper waste? Sign up for "Less Paper, More Trees!" (LPMT)

What is the LPMT Initiative?

An easy first step toward reducing paper waste in your department or organization. The Office of Sustainability and Energy Education (OSEE) will help you review how much paper you currently use, brainstorm reduction strategies, set goals, and celebrate progress!

How does it work?

1. Fill out this form for your department/organization: LPMT Sign-Up to get started.

2. A member of the Sustainability Office will contact you with next steps. We will work with you to:

  • Review your bizhub usage during a specific time period (typically a semester or fiscal year).
  • Discuss your paper use/needs, brainstorm waste-reduction strategies, and identify a realistic reduction goal.
  • Assist in implementing reduction strategies and measuring progress, if desired.

As part of your participation, you will be asked to commit to using double-sided printing as a default when possible and to consider using paper with at least 30% recycled content.

Why is reducing paper waste important?

● Irresponsible tree harvesting can destroy ecosystems, and in turn destroy dependent species. These practices also contribute to soil erosion - increasing vulnerability to natural disasters - and can negatively impact local communities environmentally, socially, and economically.
● Trees sequester carbon. Overharvesting them reduces nature's tools for processing CO2 and contributes to the climate crisis.
● Pulp and paper manufacturing are hugely energy intensive, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
● Pulp and paper manufacturing uses enormous amounts of water. In developed countries, pulp and paper plants are the single largest industrial consumers of water.

The pulp and paper industry uses between 33-40% of all industrial wood traded globally, and the US is the second largest paper producer/consumer country in the world.

How does all this connect to campus? Last year we used over 20,000 pounds of paper in on-campus printing alone, and only 11% of the paper used on campus included recycled content.

By reducing waste and choosing paper made from recycled material, we can do our part in supporting Less Paper, More Trees!

Curious but not quite ready to fill out the form and get started? Contact for more information.