Yale School of Drama Dramatically Reduces Paper Use

February 6, 2014

This month marks the two year anniversary of a successful paper reduction effort at the Yale School of Drama. Made up of seven buildings and a population of 375, the school has approximately 30 printers, which are used to print scripts, set drawings, and other documents. For years, the school used a tremendous amount of paper. Printouts were frequently left unclaimed at the printers, wasting paper and toner, and causing paper jams in the printers.

In February 2012, Daryl Brereton, Associate Information Technology Director for the School, installed the software program PaperCut to better track and manage printing throughout the school. He set computers to prompt users to confirm they wanted to proceed for any print job of 20 pages or more. To reduce the amount of forgotten printouts, Brereton installed release stations at the six highest volume printers; jobs sent to these printers are held in the server until users release them with their NetID. He also set all printers to default to double-sided printing.

In the first six months of implementation, the school reduced printing costs by 20% and toner costs by 10%. Between February 2012 and January 2014, PaperCut has enabled the School of Drama to avoid printing 11,000 unreleased jobs and save 167,000 sheets of paper. Brereton said, “Installing PaperCut has been a tremendous help. It is an easy action for anyone to implement. We’ve saved thousands of dollars in paper and toner purchases and we’ve seen fewer paper jams. It’s also allowed us to create awareness about paper use. This is remarkable stuff.”

Grace O’Brien, Senior Administrative Assistant for Production & Theatre Safety & Occupational Health, noticed a dramatic difference at the printer outside her office. O’Brien said, “Before, I would see a full ream of paper wasted per week; now, it’s just a couple of pieces of paper. This system has made people more accountable and has cut down on printing.”

This summer, Yale School of Drama will transition to using PaperCut through Yale Printing and Publishing Services (YPPS). In this model, Yale School of Drama will rent printers from YPPS and all printers will have PaperCut release stations. Brereton is looking forward to continued savings in paper, money, and time with PaperCut facilitating conscientious printing at the School.

Based partly on the successful deployment of PaperCut at the School of Drama, the University has installed PaperCut on computers managed by Information Technology Services (ITS) throughout the university.  Starting in October 2013, reports on paper consumption and trends are automatically generated and sent monthly to Lead Administrators or designated staff in each area with the goal of identifying systems and habits that might be streamlined to reduce paper use.

These efforts contribute to the Sustainability Strategic Plan 2013-2016 goal to achieve a university-wide 10% reduction in paper purchases from 2013 levels by June 2016.