Central needs to switch to using recycled paper over new, virgin paper



The school needs to look into purchasing recycled paper to reduce its paper waste.

It would be difficult – if not outright impossible – to imagine a world without paper. In school, we use it as scratch paper, to print worksheets, tests, files, reports, and more. However, every year, the CATTLV reveals that the US uses enough paper to build a 10-foot-high wall all the way from New York to Tokyo – and back. This accounts for 25% of waste in landfills, releases 721 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, and causes 68 million trees to be cut down in the process. 

Schools are a major contributor to this problem, consuming 32 billion sheets of paper annually (or about 320,000 sheets per individual school). Although it  may not be currently feasible to altogether end our dependence on paper, Hinsdale Central should take action to alleviate this crisis by transitioning from using virgin (blank) paper to paper made from recycled content.

Recycled paper markedly helps the environment in various ways:

  • According to greenschools.net, 1 ton of paper made from recycled sources saves 2,400 lbs of wood and prevents 734 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Compared to virgin paper, ScienceDirect states that manufacturing recycled paper consumes 28%~70% less energy and uses less water.
  • There are virtually no differences in quality or health standards between blank & recycled paper. 
  • Although buying recycled paper will be slightly more expensive than using virgin paper ($0.5825/lb vs. $0.55/lb), the long-term benefits will soon be realized.

We frequently learn about global warming and climate-related disasters on the news and even at our own school, yet we often feel powerless to stop these seemingly inexorable catastrophes. Nevertheless, by buying recycled instead of virgin paper and inspiring others to do the same, we as a school can help build a more sustainable future together, one leaf of paper at a time.