R-e-c-y-c-l-e-d, uuuuse recycled!

Departments should try to use more recycled paper. It is worth the small extra cost.

Every student who goes out to buy paper for his or her printer the night before a 20-page term paper is due knows recycled paper is more expensive than regular old virgin paper ” the paper made directly and only from chopped down trees. Some students choose to spend the extra buck or two to buy the recycled stuff. University departments should do the same.

University Purchasing Services and University Stores, which supply approximately 90 percent of the paper used at the University, began buying 30 percent postconsumer waste recycled paper in the early 1990s. Then, partially recycled paper was less bright and more expensive than virgin paper. The prices eventually equalized, and, although recycled paper is again more expensive than virgin paper, Hammermill Great White brand 30 percent recycled paper ” at $2.70 for 500 sheets ” makes up about 60 percent of University-supplied paper.

The remaining 40 percent is virgin paper from Xerox and Weyerhaeuser, although the latter is being dropped because of its cost. Now there is no difference in brightness between the two types. The only reason for using any virgin paper is that it is still slightly cheaper than the partially recycled product. The efforts the University has made toward using more recycled paper are admirable but could be better. Purchasing Services’ list of values states: “The University is committed to excellence and leadership in protecting the environment through the Regents’ policy on Pollution Prevention and Waste Abatement.” It is up to individual departments to decide what type of paper to buy from University stores. Departments must demand more environmentally friendly paper.

Unfortunately, 100 percent recycled paper from Cascades Mill in Canada makes up only about 3 percent of University paper. While 85 cents more expensive per 500 sheets, and slightly less bright than the 30 percent recycled paper, it is an option. For the amount of paper a university of this size uses, the environmental reward would be well worth it.