EDGE Home Page
  • 140 Years Library Memories
  • Holiday Books
  • Library Recycling
  • Carrier Library Friends

    Previous EDGE
    (This Issue)


    Carrier Library Moves to 100% Recycled Paper
    Lynn Cameron
    , Librarian

    Thanks to a suggestion from EARTH, a campus environmental group, Carrier Library will start using chlorine free 100% post-consumer recycled paper in all its copiers and printers.  During the Spring semester, members of EARTH approached library staff with the suggestion that the library, a high volume paper user, start using 100% recycled paper.  If the library could serve as an example in using recycled paper successfully, they argued, then the whole University would be more likely to follow suit.  The students had learned that the North Carolina state higher education system had already moved to using recycled paper, and they wanted Virginia to do the same.  

    The library was very receptive to this suggestion because it is the environmentally responsible thing to do.  In recent years the library has witnessed an explosion in paper use, due largely to increased use of electronic resources.  A recent article in College and Research Libraries News pointed out that  “consumption of paper in the United States has increased fourfold over the past 20 years”[1], with “the average American using 600 pounds of paper each year.”[2]  Although the library has for decades had an excellent recycling record, buying recycled paper would help close the recycling loop.  No virgin content would be needed. 

    Upon hearing concerns from staff that recycled paper might jam printers and copiers, EARTH students offered to give the library recycled paper to try out.   To earn money, the students planted 200 trees along streambanks on farmland to improve water quality.  This work for the Virginia Dept. of Forestry earned $400, which the students promptly spent on recycled paper. 

    Soon after EARTH students delivered the paper in April, library staff began to use it in the reference area printers and staff copy machines.   The recycled paper worked very well.  No jams were reported. 

    With evidence from the trial that recycled paper works just fine in high volume printers, Dean Ralph Alberico made the commitment that the library would start using  chlorine free 100% post-consumer recycled paper.  Although this type of paper had not been available on state contract, a request from EARTH and the campus recycling department resulted in its being added.  Now, any state agency can order recycled paper if it chooses. 

    The next paper order from the library will be for 100% recycled paper, even though it costs a little more.  No trees will be cut to support the copying and printing needs of Carrier Library users.   The library thanks EARTH for suggesting this change and for helping to bring it about.

    EARTH students who coordinated the recycled paper project.


    [1] Rickert, Kathleen.  “’Greening’ our College Libraries”, C & RL News, Vol. 62, no. 8, Sept., 2001, pp. 825-828.

    [2] Ibid.

    E-mail comments and questions to:

    Copyright 2001. JMU Libraries.
    All rights reserved.