by Dr. John Vann, Department of MarketingGreen Initiatives CoordinatorOctober 2001
Last fiscal year, Ball State University Central Stores purchased 86,689 reams of copier/printer paper for $195,502. This represented a 52% increase in three years. If those reams were stacked one on top of the other, the stack would be 2.7 miles high. End-to-end, the individual sheets would stretch from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles and back, with enough left over to reach to New York City. Nineteen percent of the reams purchased by Ball State contained some recycled content. Taking the recycled content into consideration, rough calculations (assuming a mix of softwood and hardwood trees 40ft tall and 6-8 inches in diameter) show that it would take 24 trees to make a ton of copier paper, or 400 reams. So, Ball State's paper appetite consumed 4,900 trees. Using a life-cycle perspective, this resulted in 456,205 pounds of solid waste and 1,158,659 pounds of CO2 equivalents of greenhouse gases. Obviously, the opportunities for preserving resources and protecting the environment through conserving paper at Ball State are immense.
What can we do? We have opportunities in communicating, printing, copying, and in making student assignments.
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