Printing Waste

The following is a copy of the PaperCut software introduction for students and parents that I’ve bene sending out. So far, the response has been positive. In a month or two, we plan to consider a $15 a month limit for student printing, but we’re gathering data first to confirm that’s an appropriate number.

So far, PaperCut has worked exceptionally well on the PCs, but has taken a lot of work on the Macs. For home-brought machines, we have Windows users finalized, and we know what the process will be for Macs.

PaperCut– Raising Awareness about Printing Resources

PaperCutWe’re trying some new software this year called PaperCut that helps everyone (faculty, staff and students) be more aware of their print jobs, where they go, and what resources they use. It’s important to note that PaperCut estimates the costs of the print jobs, but we are not charging any students or families for printing done on campus. It’s just a tool to build awareness.

Over the past three years, we’ve been concerned about printing waste around campus. We’ve found thousands of printed pages that were never picked up from the printers. These included the same print job at multiple printers and “joke” print jobs of hundreds of pages. Just about everyone on campus has had the experience of printing out seventeen pages from a web page when only two pages were wanted. Many of us use the color printers for jobs that would be fine in B&W, not knowing that every color page costs four times as much.

OES cares about the environment and sustainability, so we felt it was time to share more information with all of our users about printing. The PaperCut software lets each individual user know the number of pages and a cost estimate of each print job before it is printed, allowing “accidental” print jobs to be cancelled before sent. PaperCut also shows each user a running total of how much they have printed over time.

Additionally, PaperCut allows all computers to use our print server, which means we can cancel backed-up jobs before repairing a printer (which we couldn’t do with jobs coming from multiple sources). Last year only one US printer could be used by home-brought computers, and now all US printers are useable.

We’ll be talking with students directly about the system, and how to reduce printing waste, accidental print jobs, and unnecessary color printing. To begin, there will be no printing limits, but in the future we may consider a monthly limit (which can easily be increased by request for school projects). This is just an awareness tool– there is no plan to charge students or families for monthly or yearly printing.

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