The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday May 26th

Much-needed limit

Putting printing quotas in place might seem like an unnecessary step, but it would do much to eliminate the paper waste in labs on campus.

The large amount of paper that finds its way into recycling bins in campus computer labs is a clear sign that a significant change needs to take place.

Even the most conservation-unconscious observer could surmise that many students aren't being very efficient in the labs. And who can blame them? The number of pages that students can print in a single sitting has no noticeable bounds.

They might chalk up the wasted paper to a typo-ridden report here and an accidental reprint there, multiplied by the multitude of people who use the printing labs every day.

They might not think twice about how high the piles of stray sheets become, because the paper will be recycled and used again.

But students are being incredibly wasteful.

And they could be doing a much better job of telling apart what is worth printing and what could be left onscreen.

That's why it would be a good idea for officials to implement printing quotas on campus - and if students were to surpass those limits, they would have to pay for their on-campus printing.

Students in different departments could be subject to different quotas.

English or history majors, for example, likely would need access to more texts than those studying chemistry or statistics. Thus, the "print-heavy" departments would be tied to higher printing limits.

Quotas almost certainly would stem the flow of wasted paper.

At the least, a quota would act as a psychological check on students. The limit would lurk in the back of their minds - it likely would become a factor whenever they decide whether or not to print material of which they might not need physical copies.

At UNC, students are learning a wealth of material. But in campus labs, they are getting the impression that being prodigal with print jobs has no real penalty.

They should also learn how to better manage the resources available to them. The printing won't always be free, and the paper supply won't always be endless.

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