What kind of paper should we use in our printers?

Last summer, I wrote a post about our planned print strategy. This is now well underway – most staff areas now have multifunction devices (i.e. MFD’s, i.e. combined photocopiers/printers/scanners) which are networked and which they can now access using the “PrintAtRGU” print queue. Students at the moment use a separate fleet of printers, but largely the same system. Over the summer the University will move to a single fleet of printers for both staff and students – anyone will be able to print to any printer anywhere on the campus. We are just now at the point of looking at how this print fleet will be supported across the organisation.

One issue that has come up is our choice of paper. Throughout 2012 and into 2013 the Waste Management Group has worked with Departments to trial the use of 100% recycled paper.  As well as being 100% recycled, the paper is not bleached, nor does it contain optical brightening. This means that its natural colour is off-white (similar to paperback books) which makes a visual statement that the University is making a commitment to the environment.

This paper is being promoted throughout the public sector for its environmental credentials and other users include the NHS and some Scottish Government departments. Feedback during the trial was both positive and negative but in overall terms concluded that the grade of paper trialled was suitable for internal use but might not be suitable for official documents, some external correspondence, or colour prints where high quality colour definition is important. Documents printed on this paper are reported to be easier to read for those with, for example, Dyslexia.

Some of the feedback also raised interesting questions. One person observed that “Tipp-ex” correcting fluid showed up starkly on the off white paper. Others found that when photocopying the paper, because it is off-white the photocopier tries to copy the darker background copy of the paper as well as the text – using more toner. I have no idea why we are still using “Tipp-ex” or photocopying documents that can more easily be reprinted from the electronic original (or better, not printed at all!) but that’s for another day.

This recycled paper is already widely used across the University and as we are now moving to one shared printer fleet across all staff and students, it will be important to minimise the different types of paper in use across the organisation. At present, some staff areas use the recycled paper but student printers still use regular white paper. It will be confusing in future if staff or students have to think which printer or printer tray to use in order to get which type of paper. There will always be a need to keep stocks of regular white and headed paper, but it will be less confusing if other than that the paper choice can be standardised as much as possible across the University. That discussion is about to start and any comments or suggestions would be very welcome!

 

 

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2 thoughts on “What kind of paper should we use in our printers?

  1. It has always puzzled me why the UK has been so out of step with other parts of europe when it comes to recycling and using recycled products. Having grown up in Germany where note books are generally made out of recycled paper, and have been for 30 years, I think this is a great step in the right direction for the university.

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