In Spring 2018, the Sustainability Advisory Group (SuAG) distributed a survey to Library units to ask about paper use.
After evaluating the results, we determined that the top three areas for which library staff (as a whole) use paper are printing out meeting-related materials (such as agendas), emails, and scholarly articles. Out of those who responded to the survey, people use printer paper the most, followed by thermal paper and post-it notes.
To support sustainable paper use in the Library, we have created this page to describe digital and analog solutions. Everyone's paper workflow will be different, but the most important thing is to be aware of the options available for every type of use.
The Yale Sustainability Office has a page with recommendations on reducing paper. Feel free to consult that in conjunction with this guide.
HTML pages, such as blogs, HTML versions of scholarly articles, news articles, and other content have many options for saving and digitally annotating them.
Digital distraction has become a buzzword — in recent years, NPR, the Guardian, the New York Times, and other news organizations have published articles, podcast interviews, and book reviews related to digital distraction and its effects.
One reason people may use paper is that the Internet provides access to so much information and content. It's easy to be distracted by email notifications, calendar invites, and other information irrelevant to one's current meeting. Fortunately, there are a few tools to help you stay focused while using digital devices.
Some paper companies pursue certification to acknowledge their sustainable practices. When you purchase a notebook or paper, check the common symbols on its packaging or online description to guide your decisions. The National Wildlife Federation once had a primer on how to interpret the symbols on packaging, but still retains some information about paper on a page about sustainable purchasing of coffee, chocolate, paper, and wood.
You can also use innovative paper-like technologies, such as stone paper — made from stone waste in mining and construction industries. Be aware, however, that stone paper is very biodegradable (often under UV light), so it's less appropriate for documents that you may want archived.
There is also a guide from the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) about sustainable paper use. It can be found at https://www.aallnet.org/sections/sr/Environmental-Sustainability/Guides
Some other ways to mindfully use paper are:
Some ways to reduce ink and pen waste: