As you can imagine, universities use an incredible amount of paper, and George Washington University is no exception. The university recently completed a self-study that examined its paper use and extrapolated the environmental impact of the institution's paper consumption.
The findings of the study concluded that:
- 4,108 cases of paper were used during 2012 and that more than half of that was not recycled content paper
- By using only recycled paper, the university would have
o Saved 121 tons of wood
o Prevented 43 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere
o Conserved 430,034 gallons of water
Here at Paperless Kitchen, we admire George Washington University for conducting this study and for publicly publishing its results. The institution's commitment to understanding its environmental impact is admirable enough, and we are even more impressed that the university has taken significant steps to make a change for the better.
The university has developed the George Washington Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy, which now makes buying only recycled paper a standard, expected practice. This immediate change is supported by the university's commitment to implement green procurement practices for electronics and water by 2015.
With more than 24,000 enrolled students and 7,000 employees, George Washington University is a large organization with complex needs, yet the university was still able to evaluate the size of its eco-footprint and take steps to reduce its size.
Now that 2013 is upon us, we hope that companies and institutions of all sizes from single proprietors to multimillion-dollar corporations will follow GW's lead and examine their own procurement strategies to make green improvements.
Has your company taken steps to protect the planet? If so, we'd love to hear about it in the comments section!