National Stationery Week 2017

Did you know that this week (April 24-30) is National Stationery Week? People from around the country will be celebrating the unsung heroes that have kept society running since the dawn of the written word.

SRUC branded ball point pens

It seems like a broken pencil (pointless), but we here at SRUC thought this would be an excellent opportunity to talk about our paper use policies in relation to environmental sustainability.

You see, as an educational establishment, it’s natural that we will consume a lot of paper, and as much as any establishment will aim to be paperless, it’s not always possible.

However, we are committed to controlling how much paper is consumed, and in particular, how we source the paper we use.

Did you know?

  • 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used every year in the UK.
  • Around 24 trees are used to produce 1 ton of newspaper.
  • The average UK household throws away around 6 trees’ worth of paper in their normal waste bin each year.
  • Around 83 square KM of wrapping paper is discarded every year at Christmas.
  • Recycled paper produces around 73% less pollution than paper made from raw materials.

Step one: Avoid

We encourage people to avoid printing where possible. It’s our policy to encourage people to avoid printing at all. We adopted a policy of no longer printing off any remittance advice – all such information is transmitted electronically.

Of course, there are situations when it’s unavoidable – students with visual impairments and learning difficulties such as dyslexia benefit from having printed materials – electronic materials can be very difficult for people with such impairments to read and concentrate on.

Where avoiding printing is not an option, limit printing to its absolute bare minimum necessity is the next logical step, and to mitigate this, we have by default set all printers to double-sided printing to minimise the amount of paper in use.

Step two: The paper

We haven’t just put measures in place to control the amount of paper in use, but we’ve also radically changed the type of paper.

“At the 4 March 2015 SRUC Environment Committee it was agreed that SRUC should switch to using 100% recycled, unbleached paper for all printing. This offers not only a positive contribution to reducing our impact on the environment and natural resources, but also to managing costs.”

The paper we provide in all our printers is not the glossy pure-brilliant-white type we all know and love from days gone by. It’s now ethically sourced from sustainable sources.

Yes, it doesn’t quite have the crisp look of bright white paper anymore, but we’re hardly alone in this; the NHS and the MoD have already paved the way in adopting this type of paper.

In addition, the off-white matt nature of the paper is proven to be far easier for people with visual impairments to read.

Step 3: Controlling the waste

Like all waste-conscious organisations, we have a very stringent system for managing waste. We no longer have individual bins in offices – instead, we have segmented bins around our campuses which are clearly labelled for the types of waste going in them.

Paper is no different this instance, and we can ensure that we are contributing to the recyclable life cycle of paper being used here at SRUC.

Step 4: Changing attitudes

As much as we have put measures in place to ensure sustainability in our paper use, we still have to win hearts and minds.

It’s easy to adopt habits based on convenience, but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Our staff and students can all work together to help ensure that SRUC is as sustainable and waste conscious as it possibly can be:

  • Think very carefully about your need to print. Does it really need printing?
  • How much paper are you consuming and can you cut that down?
  • Are you ensuring that discarded paper is going in the appropriate bin?

It’s easy to think that you aren’t making a difference, but even the smallest actions compound to the biggest results.

Bonus: Exams are coming

It’s nearly exam time, so we’ve got branded task management sheets for you to download, to celebrate National Stationery Week.

If you’re going to print them, please print sparingly!

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