Location: Bowdoin / Sustainability / Activity / 2010 / recycled paper

Paper Purchases Go 100% Recycled

Story posted October 08, 2010

Many people are familiar with the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” but equally important is the phrase “buy recycled”.  Without a demand for products made from recycled material, there is no market for the materials that get recycled.  Unfortunately sometimes cost can be a factor in making decisions about whether or not to buy recycled products. Recycled paper is no exception. The majority of copy paper purchased at the college over the past 10 years has been the 30%  post-consumer recycled paper because the 100% post-consumer recycled paper was cost prohibitive. No more!  After working with Bates College to negotiate a combined paper purchasing programming with Office Max, the college’s office supply vendor, departments at Bowdoin are now encouraged to select Aspen 100% recycled paper. The new cost per carton is comparable (less than $2.00 difference) to that of 30% recycled paper.

Making paper from already been used paper is cleaner and more efficient since the tree fibers have already been extracted and bleached. Therefore, less energy, water and chemicals are needed. Considering the amount of paper Bowdoin goes through in a year switching to 100% recycled paper yields much higher environmental benefits. During the 2009-2010 school year the College purchased 40 tons of copy paper. For each ton converted from 30% to 100% recycled paper, the College can save 16.8 trees, 4,900 gallons of water, 2870 kW of electricity and 42 pounds of air pollution (Green America Come Together, www.greenamericatoday.org).

In addition, OfficeMax is working to lower its own carbon footprint. They will no longer be driving large, carbon emitting trucks to campus five days a week. Instead they will be making deliveries on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to decrease time spent on the road. Orders will be delivered on the following business day except orders placed on Friday will be delivered on Tuesday and orders placed on Tuesday will be delivered on Thursday.

For each ton converted from 30% to 100% recycled paper, the College can save 16.8 trees, 4,900 gallons of water, 2870 kW of electricity and 42 pounds of air pollution. - Green America Come Together, www.greenamericatoday.org