The amount of paper we use impacts cost and the health of our forests

Dalhousie has a great opportunity to reduce the environmental and economic footprint of paper use through reducing paper use, reusing and recycling paper as well as changing paper sourcing.

Dalhousie passed a Paper Policy [PDF - 265KB] regarding paper use on campus.

Paper purchased by Dalhousie units should be purchased at the Dalhousie Print Centre which offers the 100% post-consumer paper as the base paper for the university. Both in Halifax and at the Agricultural Campus, the base office paper is FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) or SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certified.

Paper Tips: How to Use Paper Efficiently

Use electronic methods instead of printing

  • Have paper-less meetings: do not pre-print agenda, notes, and meeting materials for meeting participants. Provide electronic copies and allow those who want printed materials to print them;
    Office 365 makes this easy! Outlook allows you to add attachments to calendar events. In the desktop version of Outlook, use the notes section of calendar events and attach any documents. In Outlook online via MyDal, click the icon with three dots, then "insert” and then “attachment”. You will then be able to read the attached document on smartphones, tablets, or laptops;
  • SkyDrive through Office 365 makes it easy to share documents;
  • Use electronic invitations, letters, and forms;
  • Go paper-less in the classroom: provide students electronic copies of class assignments and course packs and allow online submission of assignments through Brightspace;
  • Complete financial, academic, and business transactions as well as employee hiring processes electronically, where possible.

Reduce the use of single-use office printers

  • Reduce single use printers and photocopiers. Contact the Print Centre to connect your office to a multi-functional device. These are faster, more network secure, offer more services (such as email scanning), cost less in toner, use less energy, and are properly vented for air quality. Many single use printers and photocopies do not have network security features in place and are at risk. To connect employees to multi-functional devices (MFD) contact the Print Centre at;
  • Requirements for single-use devices can be discussed with the Print Centre. If approved, recommended models that are ENERGY STAR compliant and have double-sided capability can be purchased through a University contract.

Print double-sided

  • Default your department’s multi-functional device (MFD) to print double-sided.
    At the Halifax campuses, multi-function devices provided by Ricoh through a supply agreement with Dalhousie are automatically defaulted to double-sided on set up. To have your Ricoh device set to default to double-sided for photocopying, please place a service request (Ricoh service 1-800-267-9469). At the Agricultural campus, to have multi-function devices provided by Xerox set to default to double-sided photocopying, please place a service request (Xerox service 1-800-939-3769);
  • Make sure computers are defaulted to print double-sided. To modify your print driver to print double-sided follow these instructions;
  • Ask students to hand in paper copies of assignments double-sided;
  • Put up reminders for students, faculty, and staff to print double-sided; email to order free posters!

Reuse paper products

  • Reuse file folders and boxes;
  • Reuse paper used on one side for notes or turn into notebooks and journals;
  • Use shredded paper for packing.

Minimize paper waste

  • Rethink design processes to minimize printing and copying waste;
  • Minimize unsolicited mail (both sent and received);
  • Minimize overruns and maximize sell-through for published material;
  • In Microsoft Excel, use Fit to Page for printing: this feature automatically scales output to print the whole document on one page or evenly on multiple pages;
  • In PowerPoint, if needed, print handouts instead of slides to fit more than one slide per sheet of paper;
  • In Microsoft Word, change the margins from Normal to Moderate or Narrow to fit more content in each page.

If you have any questions, please contact the Print Centre at 494-6428 or

Paper Tips: Paper Purchasing

Maximize post-consumer content

  • Demand for virgin paper puts strain on forest ecosystems and biodiversity;
  • Paper fibres can be reused up to 5 or 6 times; recycled paper maximizes the use of paper materials and supports recycling of paper that may otherwise be incinerated or put in the landfill.

Source from socially, environmentally, and economically responsible forestry

Paper fibre may come from sources which harm ecosystems and biodiversity, do not respect the rights and livelihoods of local people, and are from old growth forests, high conservation value forests, or illegal operations.

Responsible forestry is well-managed, maintains or restores ecosystems and biodiversity, respects and promotes human rights, upholds the rights of Indigenous peoples to land and forest resources, provides socio-economic benefits for local people, and avoids illegal or controversial sources of fibre.

Best practices for paper production

Paper manufacturing uses energy and water, generates waste, and releases pollutants to the water and air.

Pollutants released may include persistent toxic chlorine compounds as well as those which contribute to climate change, lake acidification, algal blooms, consume oxygen during decomposition, and can pose health threats to local people and ecosystems.

Best practices minimize resource use, greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use, reduce pollutant emissions to the air and water, and minimize waste sent to the landfill.

Best practices for bleaching of paper include:

  • Unbleached;
  • Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) for recycled paper;
  • Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) for virgin paper; or
  • Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF), with low Adsorbable Organic Halogenated compounds (AOX) emissions.

Transparency on environmental and social performance

Third-Party certified:

  • For post-consumer paper: to verify the content of recycled fibre;
  • For virgin paper: to verify fibre is sourced from socially, environmentally, and economically responsible forestry;
  • For paper production: to verify environmentally responsible production practices.

At Dalhousie University, the base office paper is FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) or SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certified.

Submit information to the following public paper databases: