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Paper Cut September 20, 2007

Posted by davidit in Education, Enviro.

I have just installed on the supertanker a fantastic utility called Paper Cut.  This utility can track individual user printing totals.  It is integrated with Active Directory and is installed on our print server. 


The program is now busily tracking and reporting print totals.  One of my aims in schools has been to reduce the amount of paper that we consume.  I recently learnt how much money we spend on paper alone each year, the amount is impressive and I would want to try to reduce that amount and spend the savings on ICT!   In addition to that, we purchase our paper from South Africa, our choice is made purely on cost, what carbon footprint does our choice of paper supplier come with?

My aim is to get a user pays or decides solution in place to reduce the amount of paper that we consume, Paper Cut will illustrate just where the paper is being used and will enable me to encourage staff and students to think of viable alternatives to printing. It still amazes me at the amount of unnecessary printing that we all do, especially when there is usually a smart ICT alternative.  I aim to encourage the greater use of the Internet or our Intranet and pdfs to reduce our print totals. If I can get this to happen, we will have an environment where the reader will decide whether a paper version of what is on offer is necessary, rather than being presented with a paper copy that in most cases, once read ends up in the recycle bin.  Experience shows that this will be a long battle but one, as a Green Gold Enviro School, we should wage!

I initially set the crew on the supertanker a print budget of 4oo sheets of paper, but the outcry was instant and vociferous.  I am still removing the knives from my back!  I have set their accounts to unlimited, for the time being, and will start to peg them back when the dust settles.  I have used this application before in other schools, but this latest iteration has what I consider to be the killer app, especially as we are a Green Gold School and should really care about reducing the amount of paper that we use.  The program has a utility that indicates the environmental impact of our printing!  Quite how they arrive at the figures they do is immaterial even if they are inaccurate, what will count is the visual impact.  If this alone gets us to start to think about the relevance of what we are about to print and perhaps consider the alternatives, then the hue and cry from the staff will be worth suffering!




1. Marnie - September 20, 2007

Hate to be the wet blanket but I do think it is pointless unless to you line up the photocopying totals, risograph totals and the printing totals for each user – we need to track total paper usage rather than just printing from PCs. I suspect there is alot of paper usage going on with the good old ‘worksheet teachers’… tracking PC printing won’t affect that as they generally don’t know how to use their PC! No names of course!

2. David - September 20, 2007

Marnie, I hear what you are saying, but rest assured any printing to photocopiers via the network will be recorded on this system. All it will take from now on is not to simply record how much paper a individual account uses on the photocopiers but to set the limit too. Say 1000 sheets per term and 400 via the computers and gradually peg it back from there. We used to do this in my last school and teachers had to start to make choices. We have to start to walk the talk and setting limits will enable us to gradually pull back these worksheet heros!

3. Rachel Boyd - September 20, 2007

What a cool find David… maybe this will make some of your teachers think twice before printing out screeds of paper they don’t actually need. I really like the environmental aspect to it.

There’s nothing like knowing that your usage is being monitored to make you a little more aware. Good luck with your mission 😉

In the meantime, here’s a link to a poster you should download and stick up near your photocopier!

Cheers, Rachel

4. Graham Wegner - September 20, 2007

David, I’ve used PaperCut at my school for the last five years and it has helped immensely in reducing wastage of paper and enabling responsible use of printers by students and staff alike. Our version isn’t linked to the photocopier so the worksheet warriors aren’t really restricted by PaperCut. But our bursar has noted that the amounts of classroom budget spent on photocopying tell their own story of classroom pedagogy in action (or inaction). For the record, my own classroom photocopying total is one of the lowest in the school!

5. davidit - September 21, 2007

Graham, thanks for the comment. I agree about the photocopy indicators of pedagogy, the trick is weaning staff off from a policy of rabid deforestation. Miniscule print quotas have to be the answer along with accountability. I am dreaming I know!

6. davidit - September 21, 2007

Rachel, the poster is brilliant and is already above both photocopiers, thanks. Hope to meet you at Ulearn.

7. who knows - September 21, 2007

For the price you pay Papercut is by far the best option. Also the new features added lately really make it a winner especially now you can charge for off the glass photocopies.

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