If Andrew, Ari & Tomek Can Do It.So Can You

It’s impossible to live without paper. Ask the trees. But it is possible to reduce paper usage and it is possible to recycle paper very easily and make a difference, just like Andrew, Ari & Tomek do every day.

We can’t help it guys. It’s not just the government which is creating a paper glut, its also you and me. We have been forced to put things down on paper from time in memoriam. Hear what Vincent Van Gogh had to say about this: “Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.” Or what Douglas Adams had to say: “Writing is easy. You only need to stare at a piece of blank paper until your forehead bleeds.” That’d be some bloody paper.
But now that you know how to write poetry and bloody prose, what do you do with that piece of paper? Well for one, you could file it in a D-ring binder if it is really good or better still you could recycle it if it’s really bad. You could stop writing or using paper altogether, but we do want to see you take a stab at poetry, really.

But once you have generated paper, useless or useful, please recycle it. Recycling one ton of paper typically saves about 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space. If that cubic yard was in Boston, you know how much money that would cost, right? If that argument doesn’t convince you hope this information will: by recycling one ton of paper you save 17 trees, 275 pounds of sulphur, 350 lbs of limestone, 9,000 lbs of steam, 60,000 gallons of water and 225 kilowatt hours of electricity. What do you say to that? It’s really easy to recycle paper at HBS/SFP/OWA. Just like Tomek does, all you have to do is look out for bins that say “Recycle Paper” or have that tell-tale narrow rectangular opening. And these bins are all over the place. Thank you for recycling paper.

Enough about recycling you say? Okay, but do you know that if you stacked up all the paper the average person came in contact with in their lifetime, it would stretch all the way to the moon and back three times. Now you don’t want that on your conscience when you reach the Pearly Gates do you? So what do you do, tell me what do you do? Well, the answer is simple – you use less paper to start with.

The easiest way to start using less paper is to print on both sides of the paper. Whenever Ari prints anything in Spangler he makes sure that he uses the printer on the lower level of Spangler (near the Auditorium) which can print on both sides (there’s one in the Baker Library Reading Room too). Go to this link to find out how to reconfigure your printer setup to print on both sides of the paper:

And of course if you print your stuff at home like Andrew does, you really have no excuse not to print on both sides of paper, just take a minute and feed the paper manually to print on both sides – save paper today!

Oh, so you are saying that you are not guilty at all, and it’s the junk mail you get that’s really the problem. I agree. But solving the junk mail problem as easy as saying “Junk Mail.” Register yourselves at the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service to stop junk mail coming to you – just log on to And if unwanted catalogs are driving you crazy you can register for free with catalog choice at You can even ask to be removed from the central mailing lists that credit card companies draw from by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT. And whenever you fill out a form or place an order, write “Do not rent or exchange my name.” I did it. It’s easy.

Do all or any of this and do a good turn to planet earth by using less paper, reducing junk mail and recycling paper.

January 28, 2008
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