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July 30, 2007 | by  | in News |
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VUWSA’s recycled paper haunted by 18,500km carbon footprint

VUWSA’s swap to recycled paper is less environmentally-friendly than first thought, after an observant Salient staff member discovered it was imported from the United Kingdom.

On May 9, the VUWSA executive passed a motion to use recycled paper in its offices and in the Salient office in a bid to be more carbon-friendly, in line with the University’s environmental policy.

Environmental Officer Tushara Kodikara put forward the proposal for VUWSA to purchase recycled white paper “for all its photocopying needs.”

However, despite the attempt to lessen VUWSA’s carbon footprint, obtaining the paper involves around 18,500km air travel from the UK to New Zealand. Kodikara has defended this action, saying “virgin paper has a far greater carbon footprint than recycled paper…so it is still better for the environment.”

Green Party parliamentary staff said in a statement to Salient that, to their knowledge, the New Zealand market is too small to support the production of recycled office paper, but that recycled paper production does take place in Australia.

However, VUWSA sources all its stationary through OfficeMax, who stock only the UK-produced paper. VUWSA says it is “not worth changing this contract, just to source paper.”

VUWSA Treasurer Alexander Neilson has compared the prices of purchasing recycled paper and virgin paper, and says the recycled paper comes out fractionally more expensive per ream (500 sheets), but “this cost is negligible for the overall savings of using recycled paper.”

VUWSA’s photocopying bill is generally very considerable, as they have an obligation to over 50 of the clubs on campus to fulfil their photocopying needs.

At $1.50 more expensive, the recycled paper is worth purchasing, Neilson says.

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