June 17, 2019 | 78° F

By setting $30 limit on printing, Rutgers has saved more than 3,400 trees each year

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Students at the University printed approximately 15 million pieces of paper in 2008, but a new program has cut this number by 43 percent — saving more than 3,400 trees.

Since the summer of 2007, the PrintGreen Conservation program has saved Rutgers computer labs more 40.75 million sheets of paper during its first three years. 

According to the Office Information Technology (OIT) website, printing is provided as a limited service to all lab patrons at the OIT computer labs.

Print jobs are completed by patrons at print release stations located at computing centers on every campus. 

Each semester, students are allocated $30 for printing. According to the OIT website, there is no charge for the first $30 of printing that students use during every six-month printing period.

This initial $30 credit is available to all students regardless of their enrollment status, number of semesters, credits and any other specializations. Printing rates are 4 cents per sheet for black and white pages and 25 cents per sheet for colored ones. This equals 750 black and white sheets and 120 sheets in color or any combination of the two.

School of Arts and Sciences senior Akash Patel said $30 is a lot of printed pages.

“The printing allowance is a lot more than students think it is,” he said. “I think students think they are getting gypped at first, but I have been here for four years, I print a lot of stuff, and I have never reached over the limit.”

The allowance is part of PrintGreen Print Conservation Program's effort to cut down on paper usage at the University. Before the program was implemented, Rutgers abided by a liberal printing policy which encouraged wasteful printing.

All in all, this cost the University nearly $500,000 in paper, toner and printer replacements. The OIT lab suspected that without modifications to the printing policy, further increases in printer utilization would have led to cutbacks in printing services.

It is the goal of the PrintGreen Conservation program to make patrons more aware of the "global footprint" one sheet of paper has. Hence, the $30 limit on printing, according to the OIT website.

Between July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009, roughly 15 million sheets were printed. This savings is equivalent to about 43 percent less paper, 8,150 boxes of paper or 3,400 trees.

According to the OIT lab, few individuals surpass the no-charge $30 printing allowance. If they do, money can be added to the account, or further funds can be deducted from a student’s RU Express card.

School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior Nah-Dira Artis said she has never surpassed her $30 allowance.

“Well, first of all, I didn’t know we didn’t pay for the $30 dollars,” she said. “I thought we paid for that with our term bill.”

Artis said that because she only has a $30 allowance, she only prints what is necessary.

As for the unused printing money, everyone’s card is simply reloaded at the start of the next print period. 

According to the OIT site, there will be no refunds nor carry-over of the unused printing balance from one printing period to the next. At the start of a new printing period, all remaining balances are reset to $30.

All of the money saved prevents computing fees from needlessly increasing due to printing costs. Such savings are intended to stabilize the student computer fee, rather than reduce it.

“Everything is online now. I can just bring my laptop to class and use that if I need a reading. I don’t use as much paper and have that lying around either," Artis said.

Jill Pastor

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