Reducing Printing at IIT

Last year, more than 2,800,000 sheets of paper were printed in IIT’s computer labs, print stations, and Paul V. Galvin Library.

A ream of paper is two inches tall and contains 500 sheets of paper. Last year’s paper would be 933 feet tall if stacked, just 121 feet shorter than Chicago’s John Hancock Center (1,054 feet).

These printouts could cover 42 acres. At the current usage rate, in two more years, the entire Main Campus could be covered in paper.

Laid end to end, the paper could cover 487 miles, the distance between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

2.8 million sheets of paper weigh about 17 tons, the equivalent of eight full-size cars.

All of this printing makes it difficult to reach IIT’s sustainability goals and is something we can easily reduce. Beginning this fall, free printing credits are being reduced to 250 per semester. The credits will continue to roll over between semesters until the end of the summer term, when all accounts are wiped and reloaded with fresh print credits for the fall. Free print credits do not represent actual money, but if students need, they can add their own funds for additional printing.

For this initiative to be effective, the Offices of the Provost, Campus Energy and Sustainability, Technology Services, and Galvin Library encourage everyone to think before you print.

Here are some ideas to reduce the amount you print:

  • Read articles and assignments on the computer and only print the page(s) you actually need.
  • Use the PDF writer on OTS and personal computers to print to .pdf rather than paper.
  • Print double-sided. OTS has set all black & white lab and print release stations to automatically print duplex. However, in the library and on color printers, make sure to the check the duplex box.
  • Ask professors to allow assignments to be submitted electronically on Blackboard, and share and edit documents with team members using Google Groups and Docs.

It will take a coordinated effort, but together we can decrease the amount of paper we consume at IIT.

Questions about your printing account may be directed to the OTS Support Desk or 312.567.3375.