A new paper policy for Dal
Ryan McNutt - October 23, 2013
It’s Waste Reduction Week and to mark the occasion, Dalhousie is starting to roll out its new institutional paper policy, which was approved this summer.
“Paper is crucial our operations, and that means that we have an opportunity and a responsibility to carefully consider how we use it, both from an economic and an environmental point of view,” says Ken Burt, vice-president finance and administraton. “This policy is about committing, as a community, to reducing our paper use and also considering where our paper comes from in the first place.”
The policy was prepared in consultation between the Vice-President Finance and Administration office, the Print Centre, the Office of Sustainability, Facilities Management and Information Technology Services, among others.
Using 100 per cent recycled paper
One of the policy’s pillars is a commitment to move Dalhousie to 100 per cent post-consumer paper as the base paper used across the university. This means that Dal’s paper would be entirely made from waste paper that’s been recycled.
Currently, the university’s base paper is 30 per cent post-consumer, but starting this month, the Print Centre in both Halifax and Truro will begin switching to 100 per cent post-consumer paper. This will help reduce Dal’s carbon footprint and limit the university’s impact on both landfills and forests. (In the policy, Dal commits to developing methods for tracking and documenting the full impact of the shift, as well as identifying targets for reducing paper consumption more generally).
The Faculty of Law made the switch over to 100 per cent post-consumer paper a couple of years ago, explains Dean of Law Kim Brooks.
"Geordie Lounsbury, who works in our Information Media Centre, and our Environmental Law Students Society really deserve the credit for bringing this forward," says Dean Brooks. "They came forward with the idea and everyone here embraced it enthusiastically.”
Like Dal's overall paper policy, the change was part of a larger strategy to reduce paper use and decrease the amount of photocopying in the Faculty. Dean Brooks says she's been completely satisfied with the change.
"It was an easy decision, and making the shift was completely manageable," she says.
Both in Halifax and at the Agricultural Campus, the base office paper will be FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) or SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certified. The process towards shifting to the new paper will begin shortly and will be communicated directly to Print Centre customers.
More on the policy
The core of Dal's new policy is paper use reduction, with guidelines to help the Dal community print smarter, saving both paper and costs. These include:
- Reducing the number of single-use printers on campus in favour of more efficient (and secure) multi-use devices that combine printing, scanning and photocopying.
- Encouraging double-sided printing as the standard.
- Using new options in Office 365 (Outlook) to add attachments to calendar events so people can bring them to meetings on smartphones, tablets or laptops where appropriate.
- Using online learning systems for notes/documents for academic classes and meetings.
On the printer front, Assistant Vice-President Jeff Lamb says his management team in Facilities Management made the switch to multi-function devices about four or five years ago as a cost-saving measure.
“We have two busy floors of people, all of whom do work that can be paper-intensive, including financial information, project information, drawings, etc.,” says Lamb. “It just made great economic sense to eliminate other types of printers and the need for multiple toners. We've also implemented a document management system so documents can be found in a more efficient way electronically.”
His team has also been using high-percentage post-consumer paper for some time. "It's about helping to move towards a more sustainable university."
To read the full paper policy, and to learn more about ways to print smarter and save paper on campus, visit the Office of Sustainability website. You'll also find contacts there for the Print Centre and other resources on paper use and purchasing on campus.
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