Reducing Paper Use

Paper is part of our everyday lives and we should use it wisely. We may not always consider that paper production, distribution, use, and disposal require a large amount of energy and raw materials. 
Streamlining systems through efficient tools like online platforms or apps minimize unnecessary use and waste. Choosing recycled content paper made by companies that support responsible forest management also contributes to wise use.
Consider the additional costs associated with paper use: 
  • Financial costs of items used in conjunction with paper, such as printers, printer ink, paper clips, folders, and pens
  • Storage costs
  • Time and energy to file and find paper documents
The below graph shows the total copy paper purchasing patterns at Yale.

Find out what Yale is doing to manage paper and other materials wisely. To learn more about your paper purchasing patterns, contact your business office to request a report through Workday. To learn more about your printing patterns, email

Best Practices

Online programs and platforms allow you to store, share, and sync notes across devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and phones. 
  • Through Box at Yale, you can store files in the cloud and share files with others in the Yale community.
  • In Outlook, you can create, share, and assign tasks to colleagues. 


  • Circulate materials in advance and let participants know you will not provide hard copies. 
  • Use a projector and laptop or electronic display to project the agenda and other important documents. 
  • Consider holding a remote meeting via video conference, using Zoom.  Here are instructions for how to install and use Zoom.
  • Encourage participants to use their laptop or device to take to take and refer to electronic notes and emails.
    • Tip: Use a network drive or Box at Yale to share files, so meeting participants can access relevant files on their laptops during meetings. You can edit notes and documents from Box in real time.


Event planning and management tools make paperless events easy!
  • Attendees can register and submit payments for conference fees online. 
  • With mobile apps, attendees can view agendas, download session content, and interact with other attendees. 
  • Conference organizers can communicate with attendees prior to the event (e.g. to send agendas and info) and after the event (e.g. to conduct online surveys).
  • Tip: For detailed information on how to hold a green event, check out our Green Event Certification! 

Newsletters and Communications

  • Consider using an e-newsletter program with customizable templates and drag-and-drop editing, which can also manage email distribution lists, integrate with social media sites, and analyze results (e.g. track opens, clicks, forwards, and more). 
  • Yammer is a Yale-specific social networking platform that facilitates discussion between community members. Create “groups” through Yammer for tips and idea-sharing. A Yale email enables you to join Yale groups, receive notifications, and follow topics.

If you have to print

  • Only print pages you need. 
  • Increase margins and reduce font size. 
  • Printing in black and white is preferable; color toner is more expensive and has a greater environmental impact than black.
  • Set printers to default to double-sided.
  • Use print preview to avoid printing unnecessary pages.
  • Print multiple pages per sheet in Adobe ReaderWord, and PowerPoint.
  • To save costs on toner/ink, consider fonts that use less ink, such as Century Gothic or Garamond.
  • Recycle toner cartridges when empty. 


3 Sheets Less

A short video encouraging members of the Yale community to use fewer sheets of paper when printing.

An online training service free for Yale employees, offers in-depth training on Box and Outlook.

Toner Recycling

Poster offering information about recycling printer cartridges

YPPS Imaging and Scanning

Yale Printing and Publishing offers a scanning service so that you can have access to old files electronically