Did you know that North American academics are among the highest paper wasters in the world? If academics in China used as much paper as we do in North America, the world’s rainforest supply would be depleted within a year. You can choose to save paper, which is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for your wallet.
1. Double side everything.
Whether you are printing the prof’s powerpoint notes to take to lecture, or printing off an essay to proofread, always double side your paper. Keeping a tray of rough paper that you can print on the back of will definitely save you money.
And, as an added tip for printing off powerpoint presentation slides, try printing more than one slide per page. Often 8 slides per pages is a good size, but try to find the size that works for you.
2. Be creative.
It’s amazing how many handouts you get in class that you don’t even need. Perhaps the department requires that every single class hand out the plagiarism policy. Now you have five copies of the plagiarism policy, and nothing to do with them. Instead of simply throwing them out, you can also use this paper to print on!
Every department in a college has boards filled with paper. Often these are concert notices, upcoming conferences, or visiting lecturers. You can make it your job to help keep the departmental notice boards clean by taking down the notices that have passed their dates. You can then keep and print on this paper. Sometimes you get the best colours to print on this way!
3. Use a computer.
The more work that you can do onscreen, the less paper you will have to print. You will definitely have to print out your papers to do a final hard-copy proofread before you hand them in, but you don’t need to print out endless drafts of the same paper. Often, you can also email certain documents to your friends and classmates instead of printing them out. Instead of printing 30 handouts for your seminar presentation, email the handout to the class a few days before you present. This will save you the printing and photocopying costs. Be sure to email the handouts out at least two days before you present, however. You want to give your classmates enough time to read and print your material.
4. Work with your prof.
Some professors accept “green” submissions. (Here you can think of green as in saving the environment, and green as in saving you the cash in your wallet). This means that they will accept work that is printed off doublesided, or on the backs of different work. You should always ask before you submit your essay, however. Whatever the prof wants is paramount. Also, if you are giving the prof work with stuff on the back, make sure that it is something you don’t mind your professor seeing! Some professors also permit electronic submissions, which will also save you paper and ink.
5. Shop around.
Sometimes you come across something that you absolutely must photocopy or print. Check out the area around the university for the cheapest printing and photocopying. It probably won’t be on campus, and it probably won’t be a big chain like Kinko’s. You’ll want to find a small photocopying place, and often you can get your copies for as cheap as 3 or 4 cents. Sometimes convenience stores even have well-priced photocopiers.
6. Think of subsidies.
Particularly if you are a graduate student, you might be able to print your work at school in the department for a greatly reduced rate, or even for free sometimes. Sometimes services on campus allow members cheap printing–places such as the Women’s Center or the International Student’s Committee. If you are considering joining, or if you are already a member, take advantage of what you can. The best way to find out about deals like this is to attend information fairs and to ask people who have been on campus for a few years.
7. Remember the costs.
Sometimes printing at home is cheaper. Sometimes printing at school is cheaper. And generally photocopying is cheaper than printing. Often you will have a choice of what way to get your material printed, so choose the best one. And remember: you don’t have to always print on white paper. Plain lined paper (even the cheap stuff) prints fine on a computer as well.
You can save yourself money, and feel good about saving the environment by saving paper. It’s just one way to minimize the costs of your already expensive education.