Recycled Paper

As we try and switch over to recycled paper in the library, many questions and issues arise. The cost – why is it more than virgin paper? What type of recycled paper do we want to buy?  And some people say that the recycled paper jams their printers.

Here are some answers I found exploring this recycled paper topic:

High cost? think economies of scale: virgin paper mills are well established while recycled paper mills are still developing on a smaller scale.  Also,  the gathering, refining, treating (in the most e-friendly way) to produce recycled paper costs more than just creating virgin paper. And recycled paper incorporates all its costs into the product (such as alternative to disposal) and is not rewarded fiscally for its significantly lower energy and water use. Virgin paper costs receive generous government timber, energy, and water subsidies and do not incorporate responsibility or costs for the product’s eventual disposal. And the consumerism factor – if more people buy it and there is more a market for the product, more competition in the market, and companies realize this is what people want (to pay for what they value) costs will eventually go down but in the end, you get what you pay for.

Recycled paper jamming a problem? Some reasons why: a bad batch of paper, poor maintenance of copier machine, improper storage of paper (allowing moisture to affect sheets), improper handling of paper (not fanning paper out, not loading paper according to grain, not allowing paper to warm up (or cool down) to match the temperature of the copier room), the user must be sure to orient the curl of the paper in the correct direction; too much dust in a copier room can be a killer, etc.  (Info from the Federal Network of Sustainability)  Here are some other articles on this topic:  Recycled Paper The Best Choice | National Assoc of Paper Merchants | Green Purchasing at Yale

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Insiders Guide to Greening I.T. Free E-book

bookcoverfaronics_web-7492251Great handout with various articles called  Insider’s Guide to Greening I.T (PDF)a collection of stories, blog posts, and practical advice for employees from high-level to grassroots who want to start green initiatives within their organizations. Here is the TOC:

Read about who/why this was written.

Greening your workplace

Bring your green to work with Energy Star web site is worth checking out.   Click on the Energy Star @ Work button and use this interactive, visual, tool to guide you through various aspects of your workplace environment by clicking on the various stars to get information on how to be more energy efficient in that area.  The Is Your Building Energy Star button gives you a search box to find other similar real world buildings like yours that cost less to operate. There is also a document on how and why to create a green team at your work. Be sure to check out their plethora of free and downloadable resources to help guide you in greening your office space.

Green Office Supplies

Looking for greener office sources? Check out these two sites:

The Green Office is a good place to go shopping for sustainable office products. Their mission and vision incorporate building a more ecological and healthy supply company who models sustainable practices through the triple bottom line concept.  You can shop by category: office supplies, paper, technology, ink, furniture, janitorial, breakroom, and gifts; search by their rating guide; find out about upcoming webinars/seminars; or check out their sustainability consulting options.

The Encoprenuerist has a great article called Stocking the Green Office. Choose a topic – sustainable paper options, office furniture, and cleaning supplies- for information and links to resources on each topic.  The Ecopreneurist supplies news and advice and on the topics of sustainability, social entrepreneurship, green products, and green services, as well as assistance for a green start-up business.

GreenPower Products

Western Digital has a line of GreenPower products that save energy and money, w/ a cool, quiet operation . For example,”the Caviar GP drives yield average drive power savings of 4-5 watts over competitors’ drives.” Larger institutions could really save money and reduce their carbon footprint by using this type technology.  See more information on GreenPower Technology including a video demo.

Saving Energy

Check out this great article called Saving Energy in the Workplace written by Eddie Young, a network/systems guy, of UKOLN (a research organization who’s goal is to inform and influence policy in digital libraries, information systems, bibliographic management, and web technologies) The article “outlines some of the issues faced by a Systems Administrator when trying to save energy in the workplace.” He discusses the importance of getting staff on your side, doing an energy flow chart, and ideas for improvement such as saving electricity, reducing paper, proper waste disposal, greener technologies, carbon offsetting, and loads of good references.

While you are at it, check out Vampire Energy – a chart that lists how much energy various electronic devices use when turned on and turned off!