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Reducing Paper Use at UL: A Success Story 2007-2008 The University of Limerick was assigned the task of identifying a stream of waste and then reducing.

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Presentation on theme: "Reducing Paper Use at UL: A Success Story 2007-2008 The University of Limerick was assigned the task of identifying a stream of waste and then reducing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reducing Paper Use at UL: A Success Story The University of Limerick was assigned the task of identifying a stream of waste and then reducing it at source by 20% It was part of a nationwide LAPD Programme (Local Authority Presentation Demonstration) conducted by The EPA “ Waste should be viewed as a measure of failure and inefficiency and not as an unfortunate but necessary by product of products and services”….Anne Leonard, The Story of Stuff.

2 Reducing Waste : The Waste Hierarchy

3 Paper Use Reduction’s Methodology 1 st Task : was Gathering the Baseline Data :“Can’t monitor what you cant measure” so a baseline figure had to be calculated from which a 20% reduction could be set. 2 nd Task : Identifying paper pathways into the University and identifying paper consumption patterns

4 Paper Use Reduction 3 rd Task : Figuring out practical ways of reducing paper use on campus without comprising staff and students roles at the University. 4 th Task : Creating awareness for the project and getting University staff and students on board with the ideas of reducing paper use on campus. 5 th Task : Re-calculating how much paper was consumed 18 months later and determining how much paper had been saved, if any.

5 Paper Use Reduction 1 st Problem Faced (a): “Can’t monitor what you cant measure” ;How to begin calculating a baseline data of UL’s paper consumption? : University consumed various paper sizes and types, (A4 office paper, A2-A5 sized sheets, booklets, posters, flyers, leaflets, envelopes, post-its etc). Choosing one paper type to reduce by 20% was difficult. Solution : Asked accounts dept/print room/computer labs and paper suppliers what the most used/most purchased paper product was. They answered… A4 paper.

6 Paper Use Reduction 1 st Problem Faced (b) Deciding how to calculate how much A4 paper the University consumed annually. Solution How much A4 paper is the University purchasing each year ? A : Ask accounts dept/print room/computer labs who is supplying UL with paper and ask paper suppliers how much paper they sell to UL each year. Then calculate the baseline data from submitted data. Answer..25 million sheets of A4 paper.

7 Paper Use Reduction 2 nd Problems Faced (a) : Identifying A4 paper pathways into the University Solution : Previously identified by asking accounts dept/print room/computer labs who is supplying UL with A4 paper. 2 nd Problems Faced (b) : Identifying A4 paper consumption patterns Solution : Identified patterns via waste audits : Several waste audits (waste paper and general waste audits) were carried out determining how A4 paper was being consumed and what was being disposed. Results would indicate volumes, types, and pattern of waste created.

8 Paper Use Reduction Results of Waste Audits : Up to 94 kgs of general waste being created per building per week. This 94 kgs included paper, glass, plastic, metals, textiles and compostable waste. 85% of the contents of mixed waste bins was waste paper. (This indicated that waste paper required a designated receptacle of its own) Of the waste paper disposed in general waste bins, 90% - 95% of it was A4 paper printed single sidedly.

9 Paper Use Reduction 3 rd Problem Faced : Figuring out practical ways of reducing paper use without comprising staff & students roles at the University. Solution : Results of waste audits indicated that paper was being consumed wastefully. This was tackled by : implementing double sided printing and photocopying (an obvious choice for paper reduction) reduce volumes of University related publications and promotional literature, open day catalogues etc. request that student be allowed to submit/receive coursework electronically where possible and submit/receive coursework double sided if a hardcopy is necessary The solutions proved practical and effective without compromising anyone’s ability to work or study

10 Paper Use Reduction 4 th Problem Faced: Creating Awareness for the Project and Getting University staff and students on board with the concept of reducing paper use on campus Solution : Explain to staff and students, via e mail and posters the aims of project, results of waste audits, what waste audit results indicate, environmental impacts of paper use and its disposal, why their participation is so important and how they can easily participate.

11 Paper Use Reduction 5 th Problem Faced: : Re-calculating how much paper was consumed 2 years later and determining how much paper had been saved, if any. Solution: Approach A4 paper suppliers already researched and ask for following year(s) A4 paper sales figures, tabulate and subtract from previous years figures. Reduction in A4 paper purchased = actual paper saved

12 Paper Use Reduction The achievements of the project : The Primary achievement was reduction in paper consumed/purchased on campus by 32% How was this achieved : Implemented changes to University policy for submitting course work single sided that reduced (and will continue to reduce) paper consumption on campus. Increased Awareness of paper use on campus and its environmental effects led to an additional reduction of over 5.5 million sheets of paper

13 Paper Use Reduction The achievements of the project (cont.) University’s Ecological Footprint of its A4 paper use was reduced by 32% or 8 million sheets of A4 paper or more The University’s made significant financial savings through reduced A4 paper purchase costs (over €40,000) and reduced landfilling costs. (Paper Recycling Costs offset against Landfill Disposal Costs) Increased the amount of waste paper being recycled by the University by diverting it from landfill (via placing blue “waste paper only” bin at each desk in each office across campus) and sending it for recycling.

14 Paper Use Reduction The achievements of the project (cont.) IT dept, in turn, switched all student printers to print double sided by default, saving more than 2.5million sheets of A4 paper in the first year and is continuing to reduce paper consumption. Less printing and photocopying going on so less electricity used… less CO 2 created Overall EF of University has been reduced, campus becoming more sustainable through ….. policy change and awareness..

15 Reduction of Other Waste Streams Future plans : Reductions achieved in paper use can be used as a template for any resource reduction project. The University are looking at possibly reducing waste on campus using a similar approach i.e. targeting single use items, such as coffee cups etc. and making better use of waste i.e. composting food waste. Project is on-going as there are still areas of paper use that must be revisited.

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