November Green Tip: Think before you print

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Before you click “print” consider this: Harvard purchases more than 2,000 tons of paper every year. Add that up and you get a pile of paper 13,333 feet tall, just 1,000 feet shy of the tallest peak in the Rockies.  A University-wide reduction of 10% in paper consumption would save enough to power 62 homes for an entire year.

November’s Green Tip of the Month from the Harvard Office for Sustainability (OFS) focuses on tips and tricks the Harvard community can use to reduce paper use, cut waste, and save money.

In addition to setting printer defaults to print double-sided, OFS encourages offices at Harvard to benchmark paper usage and set a goal to reduce it by 10% by tracking the paper count option on office printers and copiers. By tracking usage and implementing strategies to print less, in just over one year the Alumni Affairs and Development team reduced their copy and printer paper usage by 26%.

Other strategies to cut paper use and conserving resources include reducing margins, printing on recycled-content paper (one ream of 100% recycled paper saves about 5.4 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and 21.3 gallons of waste water), and outfitting office printers with a “print double sided” decal.

Offices and departments at Harvard can take part in the Green Office program to learn more waste reduction strategies and earn recognition for being green.