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Print Smart: Green Impact

Learn about printing at Madison College

Madison College Environmental Impact

Prior to Print Smart at the College, Madison College students printed roughly 7,400,000 sheets of paper per year which is the equivalent of:

  • 92 trees
  • 33,254 kg of CO2
  • 2,093,728 hours running a 60W bulb

Almost half of all student printing occurs in our libraries throughout the District. The rest occurs in classrooms, labs and hallway kiosks.

In the first year of Print Smart, a dramatic decrease in student printing took place. Print Smart officially rolled out in Fall of 2013. Here is what we see when we compare Spring semester printing by students, before and after Print Smart was implemented:

bar chart of pages printed by students

*Pages printed were roughly 1,384,100 in Spring 2013, 627,400 pages in Spring 2014,  600,159 pages in Spring 2015, 521,426 pages in Spring 2016, 507,697 pages in Spring 2017, and 463,216 pages in Spring 2018

Statewide and Countrywide Environmental Impact

Recycling bin with paper in it

  • Making a ton of virgin paper requires 3,688 lbs. of wood, 24,000 gallons of water, 216 lbs. of lime, 360 lbs. of salt cake and 76 lbs. of soda ash. We then have to treat and dispose of 84 lbs. of air pollutants, 36 lbs. of water pollutants and 176 lbs. of solid waste.
  • In Wisconsin, we use enough office paper each year to build a 10-foot high wall, 145 miles long. We recycle 56 miles of that wall.
  • In the United States, we use enough office paper each year to build a 10-foot high wall, 6,815 miles long or two and half times the distance from New York to Los Angeles.
  • The average person in Wisconsin generates 4.7 pounds of trash (residential and their share of commercial trash) each day and recycles 1.9 pounds of that trash per day.
  • In Wisconsin, we generate 4.6 million tons of trash and recyclables each year. That's enough to fill a typical city street over 4 feet deep with trash (curb to curb) for 575 miles!
  • An average American uses 465 trees to create a lifetime of paper.

Percentage of Students that go beyond Print Smart Allowance

The College's desire is that the vast majority of students will be able to confine their printing to the allotted quota.

Here are the percentages of student Print Smart users that chose to add additional money to their Print Smart account, by semester.

  • Summer 2013: 1.7% of student users
  • Fall 2013: 5.9% of student users
  • Spring 2014: 3.8% of student users
  • Summer 2014: 5%
  • Summer 2014: 5%
  • Fall 2014: 19%
  • Spring 2015: 5%
  • Spring 2016: 6%