The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 46.0°F | Mostly Cloudy and Breezy

The Paper Waste

I've been wondering about something for a while now. I'm not the most environmentally conscious person, but sometimes things really pop out at you.

The paper manufacturing process uses up many trees. Although trees are renewable, they take a long time to grow back, and there is a strong negative environmental impact until they do. Besides, a bit of thought will tell you that more paper production means more land must be set aside for making wood pulp, which does not do good things for the ecosystem. Paper manufacturing also produces waste products and uses a significant amount of energy.

Furthermore, the vast majority of paper ends up in the trash. Even recycling isn't perfect; it requires more energy and material input and generates more waste. And it doesn't do anything about the original environmental cost.

I walk down the Infinite Corridor every Tuesday and Friday. As far as I can tell, there are literally thousands of copies of The Tech that go unread every printing. It's even worse than it appears, since there are so many that people freely leave them in classes or throw them out and pick up another later. Is this necessary? Every time I use my own mug to get coffee or recycle my soda can, I have to wonder whether it is really worth it.

Robert J. Ragno '99