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Going Paperless

We hope that you have started off a wonderful new year and a new semester! In celebration of HKUST’s 25th anniversary, our goal is to reduce paper by 25% over last year’s levels. It is an aggressive goal, but we have already made good progress: during the Fall, the School of Engineering reached an overall reduction of 21%! Would you like to take part and contribute towards the goal?

If we are successful, we will:

  • Reduce paper by 10,000 reams (that is 5 million sheets of paper!)
  • Save 600 trees
  • Save over 1.9 million liters of water
  • Save nearly $250,000 for the university

We are pleased that the Research Administration (RA) team of the Research Office has announced a new policy of Going Paperless!

Mrs Jenny Cheng from RA shared with us that as one of the University offices with the heaviest demand for paper for day-to-day administration, it has long been their goal to reduce paper waste. After a thorough review of current practice and due consideration of the impact on various parties, RA has decided to go paperless with effect from 1 January 2016. Most paperwork from the office will now be delivered via email with scanned documents, if applicable.

“The benefits of this initiative are twofold. Not only will it reduce paper waste and help preserve the environment, it will also help transform our tedious administrative procedures into a more dynamic interaction with various parties of the University. In this era of information technology, we trust that this initiative will be warmly received by the members of HKUST. We expect that not only streamlining the administrative procedures, the new policy will also enable us to deliver important information to our faculty members/researchers in an efficient manner and help prepare the office for electronic document management in the future. We are confident that our faculty/staff members will find this new initiative effective and environmentally friendly. We urge other units of the University to also go paperless and experience its benefits.”

As to start a New Year, why don’t we also rethink about the use of paper and consume it smartly to reduce it at source? You can find some easy tips as follow. Please do as much as you can, and share with your friends and colleagues. 

Easy tips to print less

1.  Go email paperless 

  • Think twice before printing out email to save paper. 
  • Add "Growing our Vibrant Community Together: Think before you print" in your email signature.

2.  Change your default print settings to double-sided printing (also called duplex printing)

  • Change your printer settings (the settings differ slightly for each printer – ITSC can help)

3. Change your default document setting to use wider margins or single-line spacing

  • For MacBook users, to change your default, please click “Format” on the top of MS Word window, and then click “Document” to change your default margin. To change your spacing, click “Paragraph” under “Format.” 
  • For Window users, to change Word's default page margins, click on the “Page Layout” tab and click the “Page Setup” dialog box button, change your desired default margin, and then click “Set As Default.” To change default spacing, click on the “Paragraph” tab and choose single-line spacing, and click “Set as Default” as well.

4. Try using scrap paper for printing less important documents

  • Lots of paper is only used on one side, which means that the other side is perfectly good. Try allocating one shared departmental printer for using scrap paper to avoid confusion.

5. Merge PDFs using “Preview” application to print it in one printing job (for MacBook users)

  • MacBook users can open several documents using preview under one window, so when you print, you end up with a longer double-sided document instead of lots of one pagers.

6. Preview documents before printing to avoid re-printing

  • You would not believe how much scrap paper is generated by hitting the print button before double-checking.

7. Transfer documents electronically within departments instead of using hard copies

  • We understand that communication among different departments is sometimes difficult without hard copies, but we hope the habit of using electronic documents will become easier with practice.

8. Try avoiding printed agendas for meetings

  • Agendas are only used once, and often tossed right after the meeting. Why not send it ahead of time electronically, and then use a PPT slide with the agenda info?