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UNH Killing Fewer Trees

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 16, 2007

There are all kinds of statistics on paper consumption. One Web site that encourages recycling notes Americans use enough paper every year to build a 10-foot high wall that could stretch from New York to Los Angeles and back.

It takes more than 900 million trees annually to get the raw materials need to make all that paper. The university system’s use of Aspen 100 paper in all their copiers and printers is helping to reduce that number.

The Aspen paper has 100 percent post consumer recycled content (PCC), meaning it’s made from used paper. If you compare the wood it takes to make 900 tons of new paper, the PCC saves more than 6,300 trees.

When the product was first sold 20 years ago, it contained only 20 percent recycled material. The 100-percent PCC paper was introduced in 2002.

According to purchasing manager Lisa M. Pollard, USNH collectively (UNH, Keene State College, Plymouth State University and Granite State College) spends about $248,000 for approximately 8,700 cases of paper a year, or 443,700 pounds.

Pollard notes that using 100 percent recycled paper helps save energy and wood, reduces solid waste and cuts pollution. She met with the office supplier OfficeMax recently and asked them to do some calculations of what it means that USNH uses mainly 100 percent recycled copy paper.

They provided a comparison that shows the difference in the environmental impact between using virgin paper, which has no recycled content, and the Aspen 100 paper. Based on those 900 tons, UNH saved enough energy to power 48 homes for a full year; enough water to fill three swimming pools; reduced carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of 51 cars a year and produced 11 fewer garbage trucks of waste.

For every pound of office paper that is recycled, carbon dioxide emissions are cut by four pounds. By 2012, the U.S. paper industry aims to increase the recovered amount of all paper consumed to 55 percent.

To help reduce paper waste, using both sides of a sheet. Recycle for printing drafts, meeting agendas, memos or one-sided faxes. Whenever possible, use email instead of paper to communicate.

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