[Wolves] Environmental impact of websites

Helen Randle helenr at gmx.co.uk
Tue Jan 20 20:43:32 GMT 2004

sparkes wrote:
> On Tue, 2004-01-20 at 18:02, trog wrote:
> > At work (a school) all the kids are printing off previous exam papers
> > that they have located on the web.  They print off huge wads of paper,
> > none of which gets read.  Also they do all their course work on PCs,
> > printing off huge wads of stuff all downloaded.   When I was at school
> > and we had a thousand word essay to write, we'd labour for days doing it.
> >  Now you can knock it up in a couple of minutes.
> I saw the same thing at the college.  The amounts of paper wasted by
> young people (I can say this now I'm 31) is amazing.  I couldn't have
> imagined printing 50 pages of on the school dot matrix or college laser
> printers when I was that age but these days you find ten people trying
> to print of a 50 page paper to have a print out of two paragraphs.  Did
> doesn't occur to them to just print out the relevent section and share
> it they have to have one each of the whole document.
> The one thing that really got me going is the fact students will print
> off a copy then spell check it then print it out again they try another
> font and print it out again then again and again and again.  They
> couldn't understand that paper is not as cheap as they percive it.  It
> might cost less than a penny a sheet but that soon adds up and every 1p
> of paper probably costs most of that in transport and other wasted
> resources.  Every meeting I asked when we would get recycling bins in
> the computer rooms and this just made it worse.  Students now see paper
> as  nothing.  Now the whole class will print out every font change and
> then immediatly bin it.  No thought whatsoever of how much this waste
> costs them.

As a student myself (a *mature* one though!!) I hate it when I see other 
students printing out half a tree of paper that you know they'll never use. I 
do use the internet for resarch, it'd be silly not to, but I don't print out 
everything I find which might be vaguely relevant. I cut and paste, change a 
few words around, footnote it and there's my essay! (or maybe not!!) If you 
print, you've only got to type it all in again!!

> In answer to Matts original post There are formulas for working out the
> environmental costs based on input and outputs but i can't find them ;-)
> exercise for the reader time.  the centre for alternative technology has
> some good links and that might be where I saw it originally.

Oh yes, there was a question wasn't there. Something which might be worth 
considering is the environmental impact of the computer; how much 
power/resources are wasted in making the components


not to mention how they aren't (generally) re-used/recycled. The there's all 
the excess packaging, most of which is non-biodegradable - most things come 
in plastic or polystyrene, and who hasn't bought software in a big box only 
to find a single CD inside? Then there's the manual no one ever reads ......

Well, there's some thoughts for a start!!


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