Sunday, 5 October 2008

What not to print

Printing has been on my mind again! On Friday we had a very good presentation to the CiCS User Group about our Print Service. It's an excellent service, completely self financed and offering a range of services including print buying and estimating, graphic design and large format printing, which is in big demand for posters and exhibition type material. Demand for printing in some areas is decreasing - and we are actively encouraging that - so the service has diversified, and now prints all manner of things, including promotional gifts. They even printed sticks of rock for the Information Commons opening.

One of the projects they are heavily involved in is an environmental review of printing, reviewing how, why and where printing is performed on campus so that we can make informed judgements about how best to reduce costs and make sure we're handling material in the most cost effective and environmentally friendly manner. For example, the amount of high volume duplicating is decreasing as committee papers are increasingly stored and distributed digitally. But, if all the recipients then decide to print the papers off on their own individual desktop printers - it's more expensive, and less environmentally friendly.

Student printing is another areas I've been thinking about. Students complain about the cost of printing, but we've charged them the same for printing one sheet for 10 years - 5p. We also set all of our printers to print double-sided by default. But - some departments are refusing to accept assignment and essays unless they are printed single sided AND double line spaced. I wonder if they realise how much this is costing the student (and the planet!). Why can't they accept them electronically I wonder?

My mission is definitely to reduce the amount of paper we print as a University - it is nothing short of ridiculous - over 100,000,000 sheets last year. I still see people carrying huge piles of paper into committee meetings, which is barely looked at, and then presumeably binned.

1 comment:

PJL said...

Departments not accepting single-sided and having to double space text - I'm surprised that they don't want student's work written in copperplate using powder ink. Way back in the early 90's I know that MBB accepted at least one PhD thesis single-spaced and double-sided but then I suppose they lived in the 20th century.