By Olivia Huang
Paper is an educational tool we have been using since preschool but do you know just how much we use? Some research shows that Seattle Central used the equivalent of 360 trees worth of paper from January to September.
On campus the copy center is a frequently used resource among students. “Lots of people come in and go out from here everyday,” says a copy center staff member. “The most paper usage in a month is 454,124 this year. The usage of paper depend on different quarters. The summer quarter had the least usage,” the staff member adds.
From January to September, the paper produced by the copy center has created 2,565,262 pages. Here is a monthly breakdown of copy center paper usage:
While the copy center does contribute a hefty stack of papers, it’s not the only source of tree consumption at SCCC.
“I have to go to the computer center for printing my homework assignments at least twice a week and 5 sheets are the minimum amount of paper of my homework, so I need to print at least 10 pieces of papers weekly,” says student Yilin Wang about the computer center.
Office Assistant for IT Services at SCCC Sushama Chintamani, says, “monthly paper usage for the computer center does vary, depending on the quarter, time of quarter, i.e. midterms or finals time, types of assignments being given, and etc. We use about 20 to 30 box of paper per quarter, and 1 box equals to 5000 sheets.”
This draws out to about 100,000 pieces of paper per quarter on the low side. Added with the copy center production this sums up to about 3,000,000 pieces of paper made from January to September in total.
So here is the big question, how many trees does it take to produce 3,000,000 sheets of paper? Well according to one source, “One ton of uncoated virgin (non-recycled) printing and office paper uses 24 trees.” One tree will create approximately 8,333 pieces of paper, says another source.
This means that Seattle Central has consumed enough paper to equal about 360 trees from January to September (40 trees per month). However, there are several variables not listed here such as kind of paper used, is it recycled, size of the trees, type, and supplier that would be necessary to find the true number of trees used by the school and determine their ecological impact.