I have worked in the retail industry for a long time and I noticed that we use a lot of paper especially the size A4 (letter size). The use is broad and wide spread throughout all our departments especially in record keeping and documentation of the day to day routines of running the business. As a company, we still lag behind in embracing technology due to cost and general lack of awareness about sustainable ways of keeping and documenting record. In order to find out how I could use less paper in my small department of 9 people, we first noted how many pieces of paper we use every day. We realized the amount was 100 pieces where half was records and the other half was documentation that was discarded at the end of the day. Therefore, to make a small change I decided to start using two sided printing for records and keeping daily documentation in a small iPad which we could also now store for future reference. That small change which we started two years ago has made a big difference in the amount of paper we order as a department and our hope is to slowly influence the other departments to follow suite.
My academic environment has a similar issue where our school of architecture (UIC) uses a lot of paper. Printing is a very important part of visual representation of projects and it has been tightly woven in the curriculum for a long time…. but, is it sustainable? Just as drafting has become digitized over the years, I think the long tradition of presenting work on paper can be digitized too because it is both sustainable and will eventually cost less both to the school and students. The challenge, as students, is to always dialogue with faculty where we only present essential presentations on paper and digitize non-essential ones. For now as a school tradition, initial cost and unpredictable state budgets pose the biggest challenge in making the change but small changes are being made individually and in small groups. A small group of my 2016 class visited HSD (Harvard School of Design) and SCI-Arc in California where digital presentation is embraced. We since have always pushed our faculty in accepting the mixing of digital and paper printing as forms of presentation hoping that one day the entire school will adopt to the same system or fully digitize and go paperless.
IMAGE BY GIL GALAN; 4th year student, UIC SOA
SCI-ARC STUDIO CALIFORNIA