The UW is committed to reducing paper consumption by 30% from 2010 levels. As part of that effort, we are highlighting best practices on paper reduction from members of the UW community.
See our Reduce Paper page for more information on reducing paper at UW and the UW Committee on Paper Reduction.
This snapshot is from Strategy Management.
What was the driver for this initiative?
Strategy Management has actively been involved in green projects for several years as a result of individual grassroots efforts from various staff members. With the establishment of the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability office within Strategy Management, many of our green projects have acquired a greater momentum, particularly composting and paper reduction initiatives. The main driver for our paper consumption reduction was a combination of personal behavior change, state legislation (SHB 2287), changes to office procedures, and providing tools to reduce the need for paper like LCD projectors and shared workspaces on the web and the Wiki.
What did you do to achieve your goals?
We had several conversations at our staff meetings to raise awareness and gradually the office has become increasingly interested in the benefits of printing less, both environmentally and economically. One thing we did was that we collected the printer usage per staff member and identified which individuals in the office were printing the least per month. This encouraged those who were printing the most to try and lower their usage. Another was that we installed a permanent LCD projector in our conference room enabling us to reduce the need for printed meeting agendas and materials, and by purchasing two additional projectors for offsite meetings, we were able to further reduce our need for paper consumption.
We created an office standard that all print jobs should be in black and white unless absolutely necessary to print in color. We also changed the default settings for all staff to print double sided. Finally, we have begun eliminating individual printers from workstations where possible. We already primarily use our shared central printer, however we realized we could slowly phase out of individual printers which would result in an overall energy savings and a better method of tracking paper usage through a central printer.
Suggestions and recommendations for others looking to implement a similar program
Start small and work within the existing standards of your office. Once a few people are on board, others will follow. Track your progress as best you can by identifying areas to collect data and show improvements. We also found that it doesn't help to criticize individuals who are not willing to change their behavior patterns, instead we recognize those who are doing a good job and this has helped encourage others to do a better job of reducing paper consumption.