Some things at Humber College will always need to be printed – so don’t hold your breath for a paperless world.
But this doesn’t mean Humber isn’t trying to reduce its carbon footprint: the college is making a push towards recycled paper, which in turn saves more trees, meaning more carbon dioxide can be converted into oxygen.
The college’s Office of Sustainability finalizes Humber’s 2013-2018 Sustainability Plan in two months, which includes commitments to reduce the use of paper overall and to use only sustainable, recycled paper, said Lindsay Walker, the manager of sustainability at Humber.
Emily Eyre, Humber’s manager of purchasing services and sustainability, said the college is one step closer to meeting sustainable paper requirements.
“We’ve already made a corporate decision in conjunction with Lindsay and the sustainability committee to switch the paper at central receiving that gets shipped across campus to 30 percent post-consumer at this point, and it’s also Forest Stewardship Council certified,” said Eyre.
Humber spent more than $1.5 million on paper last year, disclosed.
The cost of paper increased with the environmental standard, but Eyre said it’s worth it for a better rating of Humber’s ecological footprint.
“I’ll be able to report that eventually, some day in the future, all of our paper is printed on 100 per cent recycled paper and all of our paper is created through green energy,” said Walker.
The technology of making recycled paper changed significantly over the past five years, according to Walker, blinding the average person to any differences between virgin paper, 30 percent recycled paper, and 100 percent recycled paper.
Designers, who more likely notice differences in paper quality, prioritize the look of the print projects over the use of sustainable paper, she said. In in a few years however, sustainability may be given equal consideration.
Finding the balance between sustainability, cost, and quality is difficult because every print job is unique, Eyre said.
Bernard Hellen, business development manager for Cascades Fine Paper, said the only difference between recycled paper and virgin paper is the environmental story.
“The benefits of using Cascades’ paper, or any recycled paper, are the ability to walk the talk, to communicate sustainability, and do so in a sustainable way,” he said.
“In the education market, it’s sort of the thing to do, to make sustainable paper choices. It’s one of the sectors that are furthest ahead in looking at their footprint,” said Hellen.
“If we all of a sudden switch over to 100-per-cent-recycled paper, we can say as a college we haven’t cut down a tree and that’s huge,” Walker said.