Visualising the scale of paper use at UNHQ

Fri, 22/06/12

When sending a few pages to the printer, it is difficult to visualise how those few sheets of paper, when multiplied by all the staff at UNHQ in New York, can add up.

The Department of Management at UNHQ is hosting an exhibit on the North Lawn which demonstrates exactly that – how much copy paper is used at UNHQ every 3 days.

The 3 day duration and the 20 to 22 June timing have been chosen to coincide with the United Nation Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, under the banner of “The Future We Want”.

Three days does not seem like much time. But when expressed in terms of copy paper used, 3 days turns out to be quite a lot. In fact, it turns out to be the equivalent of the 4 giant bales currently sitting outside the North Lawn Building.

If the exhibit were to represent an entire year of copy paper use, there would be approximately 330 giant bales of paper on the North Lawn – a veritable fortress.

While the scale of this is quite staggering, the Department of Management helps reduce the impact of printing at UNHQ in two ways. Firstly, UNHQ’s copy paper is made from 100% recycled fibres. Secondly, the copy paper is recycled once we are finished with it - provided of course that we put it in the correct bin.

The exhibit can be viewed on the North Lawn near the sculpture “Good Defeats Evil”, depicting St George and the dragon, from 20 to 22 June. You can tell us your thoughts about it and your ideas for reducing the UN’s paper use by tweeting Greening the Blue (#UNGtB).

Assistant Secretary-General for Central Support Services (Warren Sach), Director of Facilities and Commercial Services (Melva Crouch), and Senior Advisor Sustainability (Julie MacKenzie) in front of the bales

Categories: Staff Engagement