I found a wonderful blog extolling the merits of paperless teaching, coincidentally called TeachPaperless, and it has a great little idea for most teachers to try. Try to go paperless on Earth Day. There is a pledge to sign, and although I understand that sometimes we would just shuffle the paper to another day, maybe if we think about what we’re photocopying for one day, maybe we can make changes elsewhere. TeachPaperless outlines the estimated annual usage of paper in the United States, and I’m sure the Canadian statistics are equally dismal. I did find this interesting fact sheet that outlines some important facts regarding paper. Since some of us still work in a school environment where paper recycling is spotty at best, the only way that we can have an impact is to reduce outright our usage (not to mention that it’s a significantly smarter environmental choice).
Sometimes some of us get a little wound up teaching, I have heard of high users that are responsible for in excess of $100,000 per year. If you do the math at about 7 cents a sheets, that’s an enormous amount of photocopying an cost in resources to both the school and the planet. That might be an extreme example, but if a significant number of us cut a percentage point off our paper usage, that could be impressive.
Maybe two years ago I might not have tried hard to do this, but the more technology I’ve uncovered the more I think it’s feasible to look at our long-term use of paper. I would recommend Glogster as a good place to start, all those posters are just annoying to carry around anyway.
Just about the only thing that has worked well since my computer based course has started, is my declining use of paper. So far my count is 120 photocopies for the year. It won’t stay that low, but it’s a pretty good start.