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UC San Diego Printers, Copiers
Now Stock Only Recycled Paper

May 12, 2010

By Rex Graham

Photo of Larry Fox
Larry Fox, director of Imprints, said recycled paper has gained widespread acceptance on the UC San Diego campus.

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As part of a larger effort to make UC San Diego’s print operations even greener, the campus in May discontinued using non-recycled paper in its centrally operated 500 multifunctional copier-printer-scanner-fax machines operating at libraries, print centers and other campus locations.

“We are striving to have the most sustainable printing operation possible to meet the campus goal of zero waste by 2020,” said Larry Fox, director of Imprints, UC San Diego’s digital document and printing service. “Now, we not only recycle as much of our paper waste as possible, but we also are using only recycled paper in all of our printing services when that’s possible.”

All the campus Imprints machines are now stocked with paper made of at least 30 percent post-consumer recycled waste. Imprints is planning to switch to 50 or higher percent post-consumer waste paper by 2015, and Imprints offers paperless ordering of up to 100 percent post-consumer waste paper for specific print projects through its Print Resource Centers and PrintConnection, the campus digital printing and print-on-demand solutions web portal.

In addition to switching to recycled paper, the Imprints service and UC San Diego departments are reducing paper consumption in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Rather than printing extra copies of newsletters or reports, academic and nonacademic departments are using Imprints’ Print Resource Center’s print-on-demand service, which can sharply reduce wasteful overprinting.
  • In many cases, academic and nonacademic departments have replaced printed versions of monthly, quarterly or annual newsletters with electronic versions.
  • Imprints now receives 85-90 percent of orders electronically, and its goal is 100 percent paperless ordering.
  • Imprints’ 500 multifunctional printing machines are easily set to print on both sides of each sheet of recycled paper.
  • Even the teaching of undergraduate courses involves less paper: about 40 percent of courses involve WebCT, an application that provides online instructional tools such as discussion boards, mail systems, live chat and digital content such as documents and web pages.


“Imprints paper volume used in campus copiers and printing currently stands at about 40 million sheets of standard-sized paper a year, but our total paper usage has been dropping 8 to 10 percent per year,” Fox said. “Not only are students, faculty and staff consciously reducing their paper use, but their use of email and Web-based forms also is helping to reduce demand for paper letters and documents. Campus departments, which are cutting their budgets, also are reducing their use of paper to save money.”

Photo of Larry Paper
Pablo Rubio, and administrative assistant with UC San Diego’s Imprints service, loads recycled paper into a multifunctional printer at the Student Services Center.

Imprints long ago retired printing machines that had used petroleum-based dyes and cleaning solvents. The new, more energy-efficient machines use organic dry inks and toners for color and black and white printing respectively. Alcohols, chlorinated solvents, acids or flammable materials are not used or generated. With the changes, the once familiar odors of petroleum- based inks and solvents at large printing operations have vanished.

“Our Imprints service is emphasizing a ‘sustainability matters’ theme, continually finding new ways to reduce waste, encourage recycling and use environmentally friendly business practices,” said Fox. “When we travel across campus to make deliveries, we are using hybrid and electric vehicles as much as possible.”

UC San Diego’s Imprints service uses paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), and other organizations.

Imprints purchases bulk quantities of recycled paper from Boise, Inc., which uses certified environmentally friendly, energy-efficient processes to mix recycled paper pulp with pulp from sustainably grown, fresh-cut trees. In a further improvement, Boise uses hydrogen peroxide, which harmlessly decomposes to water and oxygen, to whiten its paper instead of a chlorine-based bleaching process.

Fox said some UC San Diego staff and faculty members were initially concerned that recycled paper would be too expensive and not as bright as non-recycled paper; however, the price of the two are about the same and the brightness of Boise’s Aspen 30 recycled paper is almost identical to non-recycled paper.

“We first introduced 30 percent recycled paper several years ago,” Fox said. “Now that it’s been widely accepted it’s the right time to use it exclusively.”


Media Contact: Rex Graham, 858-534-5952, ragraham@ucsd.edu

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