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SUNY Downstate Medical Center Green Initiative
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is balancing financial resources with institutional needs while considering impacts on society and the environment.
Why Sustainability at Downstate?
Paper reduction not only saves natural resources and lower office expenditure, it helps to reduce the volume of office paper that needs to be handled. The success of paper reduction very much depends on the commitment at senior level and active participation of both staff and students. In order to enhance their environmental awareness and to reduce paper waste, departmental management should consider to set up practical guideline on this matter.
The 3 E's: Economical, Environmental, Efficient
Are you a paper pusher? The typical workplace is hooked on the stuff, with some shocking statistics.
Economical: Saving paper saves money
You're probably thinking, "What's the big deal? My office doesn't spend much on paper." But what most people don't realize is that the cost of buying paper is just the tip of the paper iceberg. For each sheet of paper used, a company incurs not only purchasing costs, but also storage, copying, printing, postage, disposal, and recycling – and it adds up. A recent Minnesota study estimates that associated paper costs could be as much as 31 times the purchasing costs (not including labor). So, that ream of paper that you paid $5 for really could cost up to $155!
Environmental: Saving paper reduces our impact
Paper is an office necessity for some essential tasks, but it has an environmental cost. Creating paper from trees requires a lot of natural resources: trees, water, and energy.
Efficient: Saving paper increases efficiency
Paperwork! It brings to mind filling out unnecessarily complicated forms. Electronic forms can now make that job easier and more efficient. Businesses that have converted to electronic forms and filing systems have found that it takes less time to both find and process information. This doesn't mean that electronic forms should replace all paper. In some instances, paper will be the best tool, but most businesses find that reducing their paper use increases their efficiency. Whenever we have fewer sheets of paper in our homes and offices, we spend less time looking for those that are misplaced or lost.
Tips for office paper reduction
Use both sides
Use the front and back of a piece of paper and cut your paper use and costs in half.
Think before you print or copy
Keep forms and lists up-to-date
Close the loop on recycling
Limit The Number Of Subscriptions To Periodicals
Limit the number of subscriptions to periodicals and share them with other offices, if feasible. This will reduce both subscription costs and paper waste. Furthermore, many publications are available in e-format these days. You may want to explore the possibility of replacing hard copy subscription by the electronic version.
Use Reusable Envelopes For Inter- Office Mail
Reuse your old envelopes whenever you can. For many internal communications, a reusable envelope is acceptable.
Be nice to your copier…
…and your copier will be nice to you. Keep copiers and printers in good repair and make it policy to only buy copiers and printers that make reliable double-sided copies. Let your copier maintenance person know when a copier is performing poorly (toner is low, jams frequently, etc.). Regular copier maintenance is important, especially if the toner is low. Copiers are often used until all the toner is gone and that wears down machines. A copier that works well is less likely to jam and this helps save paper!
Think about that 10-page, single-sided report you're dropping in the mail. You need an extra stamp, don't you? Take that same report and send it double-sided. Now you've cut your paper cost in half, and you don't need to pay the extra postage.
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