Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Printing by the numbers

We've calculated just how much paper we've been using in the computing labs this year. The numbers are a bit incomplete, but they are definitely large.

In the Hines Hall 116 lab, students have printed 174,912 sheets of paper since we started collecting data in November. That's just short of 35 cases. Assuming we pay $27 a case, it means the cost was $945. And that is just for paper -- toner, electricity, and printer repair will triple that at least.

In the Library 24-hour lab, students have printed 178,330. That sounds pretty comparable to the Hines Lab except for one thing: we started collecting data in January. Over the same period, the Hines Lab only used 99,820 sheets. The Library lab used 91,290 sheets in January alone. The total cost (including toner, etc.) is also around $3000, for three months rather than five -- and the Library lab printed a bunch of things in the time when we weren't counting it.

Finally, there are the other library labs -- the reference cluster, the clusters in the basement and third floor. They added another 47,407 sheets in the three months we were counting.

The total costs for printing in the labs is well over $10,000 a year. If cut just 20%, that's over $2000 that can be used elsewhere on campus.

It's not just a good idea from a green point of view to cut back on printing, but it also would let the college provide more services to students. Wouldn't you prefer that to paper that is just going to be recycled anyway?