What COVID-19 taught us about paper and printing sustainability

June 19, 2020

There have been many changes to the Yale campus and community since the start of the pandemic. The good news is some of these unexpected changes resulted in many green benefits, including less printing on campus. While we can’t tell you how much toilet paper was saved, we do have a few interesting statistics on paper and printing savings.

For the past decade, Yale Procurement has been tracking the amount of paper ordered and its cost on a monthly basis. Yale’s Office of Sustainability used this information to put together some interesting facts:

  • March to April 2020 (April was the first full month that almost everyone was working from home):
    • 90% decrease associated with purchasing paper
    • 96% decrease in costs associated with printing
  • Feb 2020 to April 2020 - $82,000 saved in paper costs
  • April 2019 compared to April 2020 - $105,000 saved in paper costs and 97% fewer emissions from copy machines, printers, and paper purchased

While paper can be tracked down to the ream, costs associated with printing are estimated through the PaperCut System, which is used on most copiers and printers on campus. Yale Procurement is also looking into tracking monthly toner costs to incorporate into the above data.

The Office of Sustainability receives annual purchasing data from Procurement. While this information is at a high level, it includes data on many purchased goods and services. This year, they hope to review this data at a monthly level to identify trends related to COVID, including how much was saved on cleaning products, paper towels, and of course, toilet paper!

Find out more on how you can continue to use less paper with the Paper Reduction Toolkit.