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7 Ways to Reduce Paper Waste in Schools

7 Ways to Reduce Paper Waste in Schools

Paper waste in schools is one issue that those in education need to be aware of and work around. Green agendas continuously spotlight the dangers of deforestation and the consequent need to reduce paper usage. Paper manufacturing industries not only use the most water for processes, but they are also the top polluter of water and significantly contribute to climate change.

Schools are synonymous with paper waste. From textbooks and worksheets to notes and official forms, educational institutions generate and discard a plethora of paper every day.

Typically, a primary school student generates roughly 45kg of paper waste in a single year, while a secondary school student typically generates 22kg. This trend continues despite the advances and implementation of digital solutions. 

A mere 10% hike in paper recycling could save an estimated five million trees. This article explores long-term and short-term ways to reduce paper waste at school and promote sustainable practices.

1. Digital transition

Most schools went through a digital transformation during the pandemic. Advances in technology also signal a new way of doing things and make it easier to reduce or eliminate the waste of paper in schools.

Digitisation can greatly reduce paper waste in schools. Cloud learning is key to going paperless and reducing the waste of paper in schools. It is an environmentally friendly, process-efficient and cost-effective solution.

2. Recycling program 

In today’s society, young and old are aware of drives to minimise impacts on the environment. Recycling plays an important part in combating global warming.

When implementing recycling programmes, learning facilities not only show students and staff how to reduce paper waste in schools, but they also boost environmental awareness and responsibility. They can use recycled paper and recycle the paper that has been used.

An effective recycling programme requires simple steps such as:

  • Creating attainable goals for how much paper waste you aim to recycle and cut down.
  • Informing staff and students about the recycling strategy to get everyone involved in reducing paper waste throughout the school.
  • Clearly marked recycling stations and containers, and placing them where they can be seen and easily accessed (especially in or near high paper usage areas).
  • Monitoring and tracking the efforts being taken and maybe even offering incentives, especially with the schoolchildren.

3. Double-sided printing & copying 

Single-sided printing and copying contribute to the waste of paper in schools. Using both sides of a sheet of paper when it is unavoidable to print or write something substantially reduces paper wastage in schools.

Schools can instruct teachers and students on how to set duplex printing as a default at printing stations. This way, they will ensure that, when needed, paper use is optimised. 

4. Championing reusable materials 

Reusable materials, such as whiteboards, smartboards and electronic notebooks, greatly reduce a school’s reliance on paper. Equipping classrooms and students with these solutions not only reduces paper waste in schools, but also lightens the load of book bags.

Schools can reduce paper waste by repurposing it. Shredded and waste paper do not have to end up in bins and landfills. For example, carbon-rich, shredded paper can be used as an additive to compost for school gardens. Used paper is ideal for art projects, such as paper mache, pencil holders and origami boxes.

5. Paperless communications

School-specific apps, online portals or email systems establish paperless communications. Through these, schools can effectively distribute marketing material, notices and newsletters. They notify parties of important events and changes. This means that everyone is informed in real time, and memos are not lost or forgotten in school bags.

Online forms can easily replace paper forms. Schools can use customised or generic tech tools to manage things such as permission or consent slips and medical notes. Digitised forms simplify and streamline school-based communications. 

6. Educate staff & pupils

Education on how paper waste in schools triggers global warming raises awareness among staff and pupils. This information shows people why reducing paper waste is essential for sustainability.

Schools can develop programmes on environmental awareness to educate their students and, staff about the crucial need for green practices. These engagements not only cultivate environmentally friendly actions and instigate paper-saving practices, but also create platforms for further research and learning.

7. Regular audits 

Schools must conduct regular waste paper audits to gauge the efficacy of reduction initiatives. These surveys will show whether something is working or not.

It is simple to quantify and measure paper waste in schools when there are dedicated recycling or waste paper containers. Comparing paper waste masses before and after a drive, such as the launch of a school website, clearly shows the impact of the action.

How Shredall SDS Group has successfully helped schools reduce paper waste

The easiest way that schools can reduce paper waste is to partner with a total information management service, such as Shredall SDS Group – a school’s go-to solution to efficiently reduce paper waste.

By using our document scanning, indexing, paper shredding and recycling services, schools can implement a holistic approach and practical programme to tackle paper waste. Each of these services is a link for a streamlined paper reduction strategy.

Shredall SDS Group has successfully helped schools to securely and effectively establish seamless filing systems through scanning and digitising documents. Going paperless frees up valuable space and ensures that all confidential files are safely stored on our online portal.

We also launch frequent recycling initiatives to involve and educate students. Shredall’s nationwide recycling tour promotes the importance of going green for a sustainable future.

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