Tim Keating of Rainforest Relief said the single greatest offset of the use of virgin wood fiber (is) the use of wastepaper. It is simply unfortunate that a liberal arts, seemingly progressive University allows the wastefulness that it does.
I am not discussing the massive misuse of paper in the computer labs, or even the ridiculous employment of paper in the amount of futile copies that both students and professors are guilty of producing. Instead I speak simply of the amount of paper used for but a week and a half of class time. That is right: the paper used for the SA elections.
It is obscene to even think about how much paper is hung on just the outside walls of campus buildings, taped mostly, that eventually will lead to a heap of colorful mush on the pavement when a single rain hits the GW ecosystem. Does anyone clean this up? Not that I can ever remember. It just sits there and leads to the ugliest aesthetics that a university could have. Let’s be honest for a moment. Do you see a sign with a name on it and a position and say, YES! I will vote for them because they have the most posters and must be the best?
Far away from the unsightliness of the fluorescent fliers that mask our campus is the amount of thoughtlessness that was applied to the actions that made them. I honestly believe not a single candidate deliberated for even a split second that they could use less paper. By thinking ahead and collecting old fliers and using the reverse side, or even collecting the paper in the library that sits on the copiers and printers (because someone else was thoughtless about their resources) so much paper could have been salvaged.
What is worse is the amount of colored paper that is used. The making of the colored paper is horrendous for the environment. The dyes that are used produce toxic byproducts that usually are either leaked into the environment or stored in bins and sent to a dump. White paper is not much better, however, with dioxin as the byproduct of making the chlorine that is used to dye the paper its seemingly angelic color.
What does all this mean? We must recycle. We must not only separate our refuse into appropriate bins, but we must complete the process by buying recycled too.
I am saddened by the amount of large-scale wastefulness shown publicly on this campus and can honestly say that I have yet to see a candidate’s poster sway me to vote for them, and I sincerely doubt that it would happen anytime soon. So until a poster is put up that would sway an opinion, save your time, and, more importantly, save a tree.
-The writer, a junior, is founder and president of GW Free the Planet!