Five palettes of paper per month, 50 boxes per pallet, five reams per box, 500 pieces of paper per ream. That makes 625,000 pieces of paper that are delivered to the school every month. And that’s just for use in the 128 printers around the school.
In one school year, £27,500 is spent on printer paper ordered by the book store for use at ASL. Since ink is necessary for all the print outs, the school spends £120,000 yearly on ink alone, according to Bookstore Controller Antonia Nascimento.
Waste is the main reason students go through this much paper. However, the school didn’t always have a problem with paper waste, as students did not always have access to printers. “Only the people with access codes could use the machines so students couldn’t [use] the printers,” Nascimento said.
Nascimento believes that the current misuse of printing is another part of the problem. “I think one of the problems is instead of selecting how many pages they want, they print the whole document and paper gets wasted,” he said. On average, 21,000 pieces of paper are printed or photocopied daily.
Lily Noel (’19) believes paper is easy to waste because she doesn’t pay much attention to what she is printing, often because it is spread out over a long period of time. “When I print out for just one subject it doesn’t feel like I’m using that much so I’m not aware of it because it’s over time,” she said.
Some strategies have been developed into as a way to combat the paper waste. Librarians have started using scrap paper found from the printer. At the end of the day, the library’s scrap paper pile is roughly two inches thick. The librarians make notepads of these unclaimed papers. Head Librarian Karen Field explains that students and faculty are welcome to come and take one if they are available.
In the Middle School, there is a £3 limit that you can spend on printing per month to discourage students from wasting paper. However, Tech Coordinator Mariam Mathew thinks it would be difficult to put PaperCut, the program which allows only £3 worth of printing in the MS, onto all the technology in the High School. “In the High School we have student-owned [computers], so for us to put PaperCut onto all of the student machines is really difficult.”
The Technology Department has tested some new ways to address wasting paper through printing. They are looking to buy new printers that will only print the documents once a school ID card is placed onto the printers sensor. “You would print… and then no matter where you go in the school you touch your ID card and then it will shoot out the print job at that printer. It won’t print unless you tap,” Field said. With this printer in place, the school will be able to track the amount of printing and photocopying in the school and would prevent people from printing unnecessarily.
By next school year, Field hopes to have the new printers in place. “We’re hoping that something will be in place for the new school year, starting August next year,” ICT Manager and Trainer, Ashour Lazar said. “With the new system, hopefully [paper waste] will be reduced.”
Despite the large wastage, some students are vigilant about their paper use. Izzy Wakefield (’19) uses his laptop for most of his work. “I try to be as digital as possible, to keep my carbon footprint small.” He says he could go around his whole school day with just his laptop and be fine. his work.