5,745,000 Paper Copies A Year at JHS

By EVAN SILVERA and DREW COHEN

Students and faculty alike at Jericho High School have attempted to minimize paper waste’s negative effects on the environment. However, despite considerable efforts, the paper wasted by the Jericho community still has harrowing effects on the environment.

Boxes of paper stored in the copy room for Jericho High School teachers and students in the month of December.

Boxes of printer paper are stored in the copy room for Jericho High School teacher and student use in the month of December.

“In 2004 to 2005 we used about 3,500 cartons of paper,” said Mr. Timothy Strout, one of Jericho High School’s A.P. Environmental teachers. “After that point in 2007 to 2008, we used about 1,700 cartons of paper, so we have come a long way. We still could do much better, though.”

“Teachers always photocopy things and leave them, and then they just never get picked up and they just sit down there. Teachers will photocopy something and it will come out pink instead of white, and they will throw it out. Teachers don’t take into consideration the damage this does to the environment,” Mr. Strout said.

Mrs. Lukew, who makes copies for the staff in the high school, claims that she makes 574,500 copies in one month, a majority of them consisting of hefty packets. Lukew argues that the Jericho community should make efforts to increase the use of technology in classrooms in order to reduce the extent of damage afflicted on the atmosphere. Additionally, she says that making Jericho High School a more tech savvy community would be an efficient way for students to learn, and at the same time, contribute to the school’s being much less of a threat to the environment.

Paper waste has not only had serious impacts on the environment; it also takes a toll on the district’s budget.  Victor Manuel, director of business affairs and finances for the Jericho School District, speculates that the community reorders paper about every two to three months and spends almost $70,000 a year solely on paper.

Manuel explains, however, that over the years we have made the transition to new forms of communication that have had a role in decreasing the amount of paper used. “We try to do as much as we can electronically,” he said. “Mailings that used to go out to parents and community members are all primarily electronic at this point, so most if not all of the paper is more for the classroom and the students”.  This transition has not only drastically affected the amount of paper used, but has also helped reduce the amount of money spent on paper. In addition, Manuel claimed that the introduction of the use of PowerTeacher to take attendance in school has contributed to the decrease of the amount of harm done to the environment.

Thanks to several noteworthy advances in technology, JHS has been able to reduce the amount of paper it wastes. For example, iPads and the use of educational apps on iPhones have been introduced in classrooms. “I think that the fact that you could use different types of technologies to get immediate responses out of students and to put things online that are available for long term use has a significant impact on ways of teaching that paper cannot do,” said chemistry teacher Mrs. Theone Rinaudo, an advocate of these new tools. However, Mrs. Rinaudo added, “I do not believe paper will be completely eliminated in the future because I think there is something to be said about tangible notes and things to read, but technology is definitely making a transition.”

Although we have made laudable progress as a community to reduce our collective amount of paper waste, the effects of such wasteful paper use are undeniably grave. Paper waste promotes deforestation and contributes to the filling of landfills. JHS will definitely continue in its search for new ways to reduce the negative impact of paper use on the environment.

One Comment

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  • Mellene Hederian
    10 February 2014 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    I can appreciate the desire to see the district’s efforts to “be green” increase, but I have issue with calling academic uses of paper a waste. Not all uses of paper are a waste, especially those that help students learn. Some students learn more effectively with a concrete handout in front of them to write on. And, as far as reading complex material, there’s nothing more effective than having your own copy and writing on the page. Yes, we should heighten our awareness about when we are actually wasting paper unnecessarily. We are all guilty of discarding paper when half of them turn out pink because there was pink paper in the copier! However, I don’t think going green always improves education methods, or even offers a comparative experience. The article suggests technology as a solution to our spending thousands of dollars on paper. Sounds like a cautionary tale to me. As a school we should ask ourselves more often: does this have to be printed and copied? But just be prepared for the answer to remain yes sometimes.

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