Cornell Will Make Printing Eco-Friendly

New Student Assembly resolution makes it so people have an incentive to print double sided...

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By Aimee Cho via The Cornell Daily Sun, 2/4/14

A new resolution passed by the Student Assembly Thursday states that Cornell’s printing system, Net-Print, will undergo several changes to help students save money and paper.

The resolution proposes three primary changes which would make Net-Print more sustainable: lowering the cost of printing on the back side of paper, using 100 percent post-consumer waste paper and changing the default settings on all printers to double-sided.

Matthew Stefanko ’16, industrial and labor relations representative for the S.A., who wrote the resolution along with Matthew Henderson ’16, agriculture and life sciences representative for the S.A., and Emma Johnston ’16, environmental task force chair for the Community Life Committee of the S.A., said their goal was to protect the environment while helping students save money.

“There’s a lot of people here who print in a way that isn’t environmentally friendly, whether through their own decision or through the way that Net-Print is set up,” Stefanko said. “We recognized … [that] we could cut costs to promote environmentally friendly initiatives.”

In addition, many departments have made profits off of the printers in their buildings, despite not being the printing system’s original intent, Henderson said.

“The Net-Print system prints about nine million sides per year, so the whole system takes in about $1 million in revenue. A lot of high-volume departments profit from these printers,” he said.

Stefanko said he understands that departments need to charge for printing in order to break even; however, he said the departments should not be making profits.

“As students, we pay a lot of money to go to this university. With the amount of paper that’s being printed, this is a multimillion dollar revenue source for departments across the university,” he said. “I don’t think these are costs that students should be paying”

The new printing resolution calls for a dual pricing scheme, which would cost $0.09 for printing one side of a sheet and an additional $0.07 for the other, according to Johnston. Printing single-sided sheets currently costs $0.09 for each side.

“We wanted to make it so people had an incentive to print double sided. Right now, there’s no incentive other than it being the more environmentally conservative thing to do,” she said.

Stefanko said one of the resolution’s proposed changes — switching to 100 percent post-consumer waste paper — would only raise the cost of materials a “negligible” amount.

“One interesting thing we learned from [Cornell Information Technology] is that the paper isn’t what costs the departments money; it’s the toner and the maintenance. When you’re talking about sheets of paper, it’s only a fraction of a penny increase,” Stefanko said.

Stefanko, Henderson and Johnston will now meet with various departments across Cornell to discuss how to implement the changes, according to Henderson.

Henderson said CIT controls printing prices and settings in the CIT labs — such as the ones in Stimson Hall and Uris Library — but that prices and settings are decentralized for non-CIT labs.

Stefanko said switching to 100 percent post-consumer waste paper is a change that departments could implement immediately, but changing the current price scheme and single-sided default settings would require system-wide Net-Print updates over the summer.

Stefanko said the changes could lead to a potential reduction in revenue for some of the University’s academic departments.

“[But] in terms of bargaining power, we think we’re on the right side of things, that extra printing costs shouldn’t be passed on to students,” he said.

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