Tips to Reduce Paper Use - Sustainability at Ohlone

Thank you for recycling paper, cans, bottles, etc.! However, give a little more thought to creating or using items made of those materials.

How many of these tips for paper use can you put into practice? What other ways can you reduce the amount of paper - and other materials - you use each day?

For the Classroom

  • Instead of printing a syllabus and homework assignments, etc. for each student in your class, post them on the web. Syllabi can be posted on your a Online Education to setup a Canvas account.


  • Consider emailing the flyer instead of printing it.
  • Instead of tossing unneeded flyers into a recycle bin, put them in the Math Lab mailbox so Math students can use them as worksheets.
  • Large pile of white paper and a few file folders.In the Mail Room, instead of putting flyers in each mailbox, place a stack of 50 or so flyers on a table. People interested in the event can grab a flyer as a reminder. Then, check back in a few days to see whether more flyers need to be added to the stack.

Monitor newspapers

  • Again, maybe these don't need to be placed into each mailbox in the Mail Room. People interested in reading the Ohlone College Monitor can pick up the latest issue at one of the many Monitor newspaper stands around campus.

Class Schedules

  • Instead of recycling a copy of the current or upcoming semester's printed Class Schedule, put it in the revolving stand in the Mail Room where someone else can grab it - or take it down to the second or third floor lobby in Building 7 so students can see it.


  • Stack of different types of paper.Mail only one copy of a postcard, schedule, brochure, etc. to each household - instead of mailing a copy to each person in that household.

Printing and Photocopying

  • Consider whether you really need to print that email message or document.
  • Consider making a PDF file of an email message you want to file away and save that file on your computer.
  • Distribute an electronic document by sending it attached to an email message instead of printing it and distributing the printout.
  • Instead of printing a web page for someone to review, provide them with the link to the page.
  • Proofread what you are about to print, so you won't need to reprint it because of typos.
  • Before you print, use the Print Preview feature to ensure the printout will be correctly formatted.
  • If you need only pages 3-5 of a document, print only pages 3-5 of the document (after doing a Print Preview) instead of the whole document.
  • Print double-sided on printers that can do Duplex printing. Printing an 11-page document double-sided uses 6 sheets of paper instead of 11.
  • Set your computer's default printer to a printer capable of Duplex (double-sided) printing - and change the default setting for that printer on your computer to always print double-sided. If you need to print something only on one side, you can change just that print job to print one-sided.

Web page printouts

Over time, web pages change or are removed. Instead of printing a web page containing interesting information and filing it away for "later":

  • Bookmark or write down the website address (URL).
  • Write down the small bit of information you need.
  • Make a PDF file from that web page and keep the PDF file on your computer.

Paper in general

  • Format your electronic documents to reduce the size of the margins. For example, instead of using 1.5-inch margins, change the margins to 0.75 inches or 0.5 inches. This will put more text on a page and reduce the page-length of the document, thereby saving paper when the document is printed.
  • Pile of manila file folders.Reuse file folders over and over. Place a file folder label over the already used tabbed section.
  • Reuse in-house mail rounds envelopes over and over. Tape a sheet of paper over the already used To/From lines to start a new list of To/From information.
  • Print internal memos and documents on paper that is already printed on one side (better used with "private" printers).
  • Use in-house mail envelopes to send paper printed on one side to the Math Lab so Math students can use them as worksheets.
  • Make notepads from paper already printed on one side.
  • Use strip-cut (not cross-cut!) shredded paper as protective padding when shipping boxes. Do not, however, use shredded confidential documents.

Piles of newspapers.