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Paper Consumption

Here are some paper use reduction strategies to consider for our school district:
  • Analyze your largest documents, such as publications and informational newsletters. Slash paper volume by using a smaller font size, a space efficient font, smaller margins, less white space, reduced image sizes, and both sides of the page. Also, you can eliminate paper use altogether by posting these documents on RichNet, sending or sending them as an email attachment.
  • Pare down your distribution lists and make sure only the recipients required are on the lists.
  • Send internal reports electronically. For reports that must be on paper, use two-up (two pages printed on one side) and two-sided printing.
  • Conduct business with outside contacts using the Internet or RichNet rather than faxing paper.
  • Use RichNet to the greatest extent possible. If new conferences or folders have to be created to assist you, put in a tech work order specifying exactly what you require.
  • Use data compression for storing large quantities of data electronically, rather than on paper.
  • Educate staff about the importance of paper use reduction.
        - Encourage them to store files electronically rather than in hard copy
        - Use both sides of the page
        - Print email messages only when necessary
        - Make the least number of hard copies necessary
        - Route documents rather than distribute copies
        - Post documents in central locations
        - Proof documents on the computer
        - Use scrap paper whenever possible.

  • Put forms on RichNet using MS Word or Adobe PDF.
  • If you receive faxes from companies, indicate to them that you only want to receive information digitally in the future.


What about a paperless classroom?   Here are some thoughts to consider:

Every day, millions of teachers use millions of photocopies to teach millions of students. Considering the amount of paper generated (and often quickly disposed or lost) in classrooms is a staggering experience.

Many people think that because paper is recycled there is no need to be careful with paper usage. Essentially, recycling requires energy, time, and money, and it doesn't always happen, so it should always be a last option, not the only safety net. The other two 'R's in the green mantra 'reduce, reuse recycle' thus come into play. Reducing paper usage by avoiding activities that require it or by reusing paper is the way to go.

If you are going to use photocopied worksheets, be inventive. Try to only use them for material that is not in textbooks or to convey information that students will often need to refer to.

Also, be creative with formatting. Does that sheet really need to be 8 x 14? Could it be 8 x 11? Or shared between pairs of students? Or made into reusable flashcards?

Learn to use the photocopier at school wisely early on: learn to adjust paper size, make doublesided copies, and cancel commands. Use recycled paper where possible and you are off to a good start.

Ways to minimize and reuse paper in the classroom:
  • Use the blackboard where possible. Put class materials on a bulletin board later.
  • Keep spare scrap paper on hand and give to student to use for quick games, notepaper etc. Our district has paper recycling boxes where you can use this paper. You can cut it to a small size first before using in class.
  • Monitor paper used and saved. At the end of the year or term publish an article about it in a school newsletter, or local newspaper.
  • Make reusable, not disposable, materials.

SD 38 Guidelines for Photocopying
  • Make all photocopies and printouts double-sided and reduce margins widths (reducing paper consumption by half) whenever possible. I'd be happy to arrange for IKON to come out and provide a refresher training session.
  • Avoid wasted paper and mistakes by having staff preview documents carefully and knowing how to operate the photocopier. It may be useful to post a sign close to the copier with instructions on how to perform various tasks.
  • A number of the machines in your schools have the capability of producing PDF documents.  This means you do not have to photocopy, but can send PDFs electronically by e-mail.  More information in this regard will be forthcoming.
For every 9000 sheets of paper you don't use, consider that you have saved a single tree from being cut down.