Examining the Feasibility of Increasing Recycled Paper Use in the Dalhousie University Faculty of Science
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Dalhousie University currently uses vast amount of paper; between 60 and 65 million each year. The majority of that paper is virgin paper, which contains no recycled content. This means that Dalhousie’s current paper use is not sustainable; and not in accordance with the University’s own Environmental Policy. The goal of this study was to determine the feasibility, in terms of attitudes, availability and economics, of increasing recycled paper use in the Faculty of Science at Dalhousie University. We used a questionnaire to gather information on faculty member’s education and attitudes towards using recycled paper for school purposes. We assessed the current paper use patterns in the Faculty of Science departments, by conducting interviews with department secretaries. We also used interviews with the Dalhousie University Print Centre and Purchasing Department to establish the current paper use at Dalhousie University as a whole, paper related policies and practices, and details of the contracts with paper manufacturers and suppliers. We found that faculty members, department secretaries, and the managers of both the Dalhousie Print Centre and Purchasing Department all supported an increase in the use of recycled paper. This tells us that increasing recycled paper use is feasible in terms of attitudes. We found that recycled paper is now available at the same quantity and quality as virgin paper, which means that using recycled paper is feasible in terms of availability. Finally we found that departments have flexible budgets, and that for all Faculty of Science departments, the price increase associated with using recycled paper would be less than 5.7% of their current paper budget. This says that increasing recycled paper use in the Faculty of Science is also economically feasible as well. With this exploratory research showing an initial ‘green light’ for each of these three aspects of feasibility, it is clear that the Dalhousie University Faculty of Science should begin to make a change towards using recycled paper.