Pay Per Print and Sustainability

Sustainability is one of Okanagan College’s key areas of interest.

We’re not just talking about saving trees, reducing carbon footprint,and recycling (although all those things are important to us.) We also look at sustainability as a principle to guide how we do business.

Over the past number of years, more of Okanagan College’s scarce financial resources have gone to cover the costs of increased student printing through our network multifunction devices that print, scan and copy. Toner, paper, technician support, wear and tear on printers: all are costs that divert resources from where they can do more good on our campuses.

We’ll be up front. One of the reasons we are implementing Pay Per Print is money. We want to recover some of those costs, to help generate some much-needed (and appreciated) revenue for Okanagan College and to help ensure our financial sustainability as an institution with the resources to provide quality education and support services.

Another important reason, though, is because of our interest in sustainability – the Kermit-the-frog, environmental kind of sustainability. Being charged for printing should give people pause to think about whether they really need to bring that PDF or email in to the physical world through the miracle of paper and toner, or whether they can live with it electronically.

Maybe putting a price tag on it will prompt someone to ask ‘does it need to be printed? Am I willing to pay the price?’ And making a decision to live with a digital version of something can save trees, reduce use of chemicals, limit wear and tear on equipment, save electricity . . . you get the picture.

Let’s face it. We’ve all probably printed something we didn’t need to. Printed an entire 25-page document when we only needed one page of it.Something that forces us to reflect a little harder before we mindlessly send the print command can’t be all bad . . .

Many other institutions and organizations – about 50,000 - have implemented the system Okanagan College uses to monitor, track and charge for printing. Among post-secondary institutions, they have seen the number of pages printed drop significantly: anywhere between 25 and 60 per cent. When you think that Okanagan College printers are spitting out 4.5 million pages annually, that will mean significant savings here.