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10 million pages printed as Nanaimo schools try to reduce paper waste

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district staff updates trustees on paper-reduction strategy
As Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools works to reduce paper waste, it was observed that 10 million pages were printed in 2023. (News Bulletin file photo)

Close to 10 million pages of paper were printed in Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district last year and work is continuing on a paper waste reduction plan.

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ environmental sustainability action plan, approved in 2022, includes a paper reduction strategy that includes the addition of more efficient, multi-use printers and software that curbs wasted paper.

The strategy was in place by the start of the 2023-24 school year, and in a March 6 report to the school district business committee, staff said that during 2023, there were close to 10 million pages printed, 642,000 print jobs, and 27,300 pages printed daily.

There were more than 3.5 million printed pages, 6.3 million photocopies, 135,000 scans and 430 faxes. Of those, more than 9.4 million were black-and-white and more than 450,000 were colour. The district estimated this amounted to more than 800 trees cut down and 86,700 kilograms of carbon dioxide produced.

Mark Walsh, secretary-treasurer, pointed out this was the first report on the strategy, which doesn’t display “a massive amount of progress.” It contains “baseline data” that can be accessed to support reduction of paper, he said.

Zeyad Merchant, SD68 director of information technology, said the data could help cut costs.

“What this has really done centrally is to give access and visibility to any budget manager who has printing as a budget line, to re-correlate what that budget line does to the actual consumption, right down to user level, number of pages, amount of toner and paper … it allows them to use that as actual data,” he said.

When asked by Greg Keller, board chairperson, about assistance the board can provide, Walsh said support is already coming with technology to teachers and wireless networks.

“There’s been heavy investments that have led to us having the technical groundwork to be able to really go to a paperless world … people’s practices often incorporate paper into that, but the groundwork is there and if there’s positive practices, that’s going to be pushed by our kids not accepting practices that rely too much on paper,” said Walsh.

Staff also reported that the number of inefficient single-use printers has been reduced from 382 to 146 as of the start of the school year, and there are 93 multi-use printers in the district.

RELATED: SD68’s environmental action plan starts with less paper waste

Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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