Our group suggests the following recommendations to help the Imprint system
become more environmentally sustainable.
- 1. Reduce Printing By At Least 25 Per Cent
- Each week, 3 800 Imprint newspapers are left undelivered. We recommend
a reduction by 25%, or 3000 copies, as the Imprint relies heavily on national
advertisers for their financial support These advertisers will only advertise
in a student newspaper if a certain student-to-paper ratio is achieved and
maintained. Reducing printing by 25% is already a dramatic change but we feel that this number is more reasonable than reducing by the total amount found to be
in excess, 32% or 3 800 copies.
- According to our survey, 96% of University of Waterloo students read the
Imprint; and 81% read it at least once every two weeks. Therefore, readership
was found to be high. Although approximately 7 000 Imprint newspapers were
delivered on-campus, not all were used because a large number of papers were
being read more than once by different people. Of those who read the Imprint,
it was determined that 35% exclusively read a previously used copy. Advertisers
should be informed of this. The Imprint staff should ask advertisers to pay
the same price for their ads despite a 25% reduction in printing because the
number of papers being printed does not reflect the number of papers being
- 2. Sponsorship
- A book entitled The Canadian Directory to Foundations, which is on
reserve in any public library, lists all the organizations which provide
funding for certain causes such as environmental initiatives. If advertisers
withdraw their financial support from the Imprint once a reduction in printing
is made, the Imprint should look for sponsors in this book.
- 3. Encouraging Reusing and Recycling
- Through advertisement in the Imprint, readers should be encouraged to return
their newspaper to an Imprint receptacle or to neatly place their paper on a
pile of other Imprints so custodial staff will not dispose of them. This reuse
will encourage less papers to be printed since more papers will be shared with
other readers. Returning the papers to drop-off points will also ensure that
all Imprints will be taken to the recycling depot by Imprint distributors each
Friday. Weekly articles should also be written about the Imprint's continuing
efforts to be more environmentally sustainable to inform readers and encourage
- 4. Accountability
- Contrary to popular belief, the Imprint is not accountable to the Federation of
Students. Apparently, they are accountable to the entire student body
(Tigert-Dumas, 1995). However, the concerns of individual students can easily
be ignored if no regulating body represents their ideas and presents them to
the Imprint staff on their behalf. To ensure that our recommendations and
other people's concerns are addressed, we suggest that the Imprint be
accountable to the Federation of Students -- a governing body which exists to
represent University of Waterloo students.
- 5. Perform In-Depth Study
- The Imprint should perform an in-depth study to determine the exact number of
newspapers required in each location both on- and off-campus, and consequently
the number of papers that should be printed. This may be done by providing
each on- and off-campus location with a subscription form asking how many
Imprints they require. Within each building, high usage/traffic areas must be
determined to find the most strategic Imprint drop-off locations.
- 6. Encourage Imprint Readership On The Internet
- To reduce the number of newspapers that are printed, greater awareness of the
Imprint's availability on the Internet should be provided through increased
advertising of this fact.
- 7. Better Communication
- There should be better communication between the Imprint staff and people on-
and off-campus. For example, Dennis Mustin of Plant Operations did not know
that the Imprint staff and not the custodians were responsible for collecting
and disposing of unused Imprints. This resulted in more Imprints being thrown
away by custodians as opposed to being recycled by Imprint distributors. A
policy of recycling before putting in garbage should be adopted. Better
communication would also ensure that off-campus complaints are
By investigating the distribution of the Imprint to various buildings on
campus and the disposal habits of readers, we achieved a greater understanding
of the dynamics of the Imprint system. Overall, the Imprint failed to meet
three of our four set criteria for sustainability. Although many readers
either recycled or reused the paper, by looking at the non-sustainable disposal
methods used by the custodial staff, we discovered that the Imprint system did
not reflect a closed-loop system. As well, the discovery of the 3 800 excess
papers not even being distributed demonstrated that the number of papers
printed did not reflect the actual number of readers. Therefore, waste was not
being reduced at the source. Since the paper was printed in Grimsby, Ontario,
the Imprint system did not support the local economy and required more fossil
fuels for delivery in Waterloo. However, the materials used to print the paper
by CanWeb were found to be environmentally sound as they did meet the accepted
standard for recycled content and used non-toxic inks.
For the University of Waterloo campus to become a more sustainable
campus, it is essential that the system of the Imprint be re-evaluated and
changed. We believe that this can be accomplished by implementing the
recommendations made by our group. We do realize however, that the
implementation of our recommendations will require time and that further
studies need to be conducted.
- Abbey, David S. and Diane Abbey-Livingston. Enjoying Research? A How-To Manual on Needs Assessment. Government of Ontario: Toronto 1982.
- Atwal, Sandy, Imprint Editor-in-Chief, March 7, 1995.
- Connolly, Tom, Lead Hand of ES Custodial Staff, University of Waterloo, March, 1995.
- Cook, Patti, Waste Management Coordinator, University of Waterloo, 1995.
- Good, Ryan et al. Paper Consumption at UW. University of Waterloo: WatGreen, 1994.
- Kay, James, ERS 285 Course Administrator, February 27, 1995.
- Lankton, Steve, CanWeb, 1995.
- Mustin, Dennis, Plant Operations, University of Waterloo, March 1995.
- Schumm, M., Registrar's Office, 1995.
- Smith, Christine, ERS 285 Teaching Assistant, 1995.
- Tigert-Dumas, Laurie, Imprint Advertising Sales/Production, March 1995.
- Zavitz, Jeff, Imprint Distributor, March 3, 1995.
Please note that the total number distributed adds up to approximately 8,200
copies, which leaves about 3,800 copies unaccounted for.