20,000 Sheets A Day: Staples' Paper Addiction

Emily Goldberg ’12 and Farrel Levenson ’11
Web Managing Editor and Staff Writer

One of the many boxes of paper delivered to Staples each day.| Photo by Farrel Levenson '11

According to main office secretary Mari Caroll who orders all of Staples paper, Staples goes through 200,000 sheets of paper every two weeks. That’s 100,000 sheets of paper every week, 20,000 sheets of paper every day, nearly 3,000 sheets every hour.

“Between tests, handouts, and homework, Staples uses way too much paper,” Club Green Co-President Nicole Brill ’11 said.

With each lab report, English paper, or math sheet that is copied one may wonder how many trees Staples kills each week. According to the organization Conservatree, 8,333.3 sheets of normal copy paper are created from a single tree, which means that Staples uses, or kills, about 2.4 trees a day, and 360 each year.

“We have a common expression at the copy machine [in the English and social studies offices]… ‘there goes another tree,’” Paraprofessional of the social studies and English offices Frances Evan said.

The Green Club has tried to alleviate the amount of paper Staples uses on a daily basis by raising money for a double-sided printer in the library, and the club hopes to buy double-sided printers for the whole school eventually.

“Most of the kids are happy about it,” Library Assistant Mary Parmalee said, regarding the double-sided printer which was recently placed in the library.

Alana Luttinger ’11 has mixed feelings about the double-sided printing, which can save hundreds of sheets of paper a month. “Sometimes, [the double-sided printer] continues printing someone else’s stuff on the first page of mine,” Luttinger said. “I like the idea of it, it just needs to work out some of [its] kinks.”

The double-sided printer helps reduce paper usage, but many of the Staples teachers make efforts to save paper as well.

“We try to be conscious and print double sided, use google docs instead of paper,” 6-12 social studies department coordinator D-Amico said.

The social studies department is not alone in their efforts. College and career counselor Shauna Flaherty orders paper for the science department from Caroll, and knows the department makes an effort to be green. “I know that the science teachers make every effort to not be wasteful by making copies back to back, for example,” Flaherty said.

Evans cited the efforts of the English and social studies departments. “We always encourage teachers to use back to back copies,” Evans said. “But were all human and people make mistakes and print the wrong thing sometimes”.

Evans recalled a time when a teacher accidentally made 270 copies instead of 27, but luckily the teacher was able to catch the mistake before too many copies were made.

The departments both have recycled paper bins, which helps teachers to be eco-friendly even when such mistakes are made.

Wendy Winkler, paraprofessional in the math learning center, believes the main problem of over-paper use due to students.

“There is a huge amount of printed material that comes out of the printers [in the math learning center] that’s never claimed by anyone,” Winkler said. “At least the teachers and staff print only what they need.”

Carroll thinks there are many ways to reduce Staples’ paper use. “I’d like to see a lot less posters slapped all around the school. It defaces the school, takes paint off walls and windows,” she said.

Caroll also mentioned, senior day practices, which traditionally involve putting flyers around the school, as a cause of the enormous sum of paper used at Staples. “I think that’s a big waste,” Carrol said. “If you make a good notice, people will see it. Just make use of the bulletin boards. It’s a lot less work for custodians, and the school just looks a lot better.”

And saving a couple trees wouldn’t be negative, either.