Waste Audit of the University of Waterloo Gazette


    Table of Contents

    1.0 Abstract

    2.0 Vision of Sustainability

    3.0 Introduction

    4.0 Project Goal and Objective

    5.0 System

    5.1 System Identification

    5.2 Importance of System

    5.3 System Study

    5.3.1 Actor System

    5.3.2 System Design

    5.3.3 System Behaviour

    5.3.4 System Surprises

    6.0 Evaluation Criteria

    6.1 Methodology

    6.2 Evaluation Criteria

    6.3 Study Findings

    6.3.1 Reduced Distribution Sites

    6.3.2 Increased Distribution Sites

    7.0 Conclusions

    8.0 Recommendations

    8.1 Current Recommendations

    8.2 Recommendations for Future Study

    Appendix A Drop-off Locations

    Appendix B Campus Map

    Appendix C Systems Diagram

    Appendix D Contact People

    Appendix E Data Collection Table


    1.0 Abstract

    The Gazette is an internal publication of the University of Waterloo, which provides information of upcoming activities and articles about past events. The following document discusses the results of a one-term waste audit of the Gazette in the spring 1997 term. The audit consists of the collection of data on remaining papers one week following publication from each drop-off location in addition to papers which are printed and never distributed to drop-off locations or department mailboxes. Meetings were set up with the Gazette Editor and also with Central Stores, which distrubutes the paper to collect information. In addition, data was collected on a weekly basis from each drop-off location to determine if the distribution of the Gazette was below, meeting or exceeding demand. Specific recommendations regarding distribution, in addition to data of the number of papers read per week from each drop-off location during the sampling period are included.

    This document was prepared for ERS 285 -"Greening the Campus," a second year course taught by the Department of Environment & Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. Our group completed a waste audit of the Gazette. Our findings indicate that a many Gazette drop-off locations receive a greater supply than in demanded and a number need papers redirected to them as they run out of Gazettes before the next publication. In addition, following the current distribution list nearly 3,000 surplus issues of the Gazette are published. About 1,300 are not distributed, and 1,500 are presumably distributed to department mailboxes in addition to the number assigned for each department.

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    2.0 Vision of a Sustainable UW Campus as it pertains to paper use on the University of Waterloo Campus

    Our vision of a sustainable University of Waterloo campus includes a complete elimination of paper usage, especially newsprint. Course outlines could be posted on newsgroups, students could pre-register and register via electronic means, and co-op students’ resumes could be e-mailed to individual employers instead of the current practice of photocopying resume packages on paper and depositing them into the bins in Needles’ Hall. This transformation will take time and determination. Until this can be implemented we must take measures to ensure that all paper use is minimized by ensuring that all photocopies or newspapers printed are read and used.

    The world is entering an era where computers are assuming an increasingly important role in daily life. Within the UW campus, it is possible for all students and faculty to obtain electronic mail addresses and Internet access. However, some staff members do not realize these privileges. This makes the alternative of replacing the practice of printing newspapers on paper with electronic news posted regularly on the Internet viable as a means of reducing the number of Gazettes distributed on paper. Internal Communications already has links established from the UWinfo world-wide-web page to the Daily Bullentin and archived articles from the Gazette. However, this web-site is not updated with the current issue until a few days after the Gazette has been published on paper. With more effort on the part of the Gazette staff to update the site, the Gazette can gradually reduce the quantity of Gazettes printed each week. Print copies of the Gazette would only be required for those people without Internet or e-mail access.

    Until the Gazette can improve the material posted on the Internet, work must be done to ensure that surplus issues of the Gazette are not printed. This will have to remain a priority after the Gazette is fully published on the Internet as if people are reading the Gazette on the Internet the readership of print Gazettes should decrease.

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    3.0 Introduction

    The Gazette is a University of Waterloo publication produced by the Internal Communications division of the Information and Public Affairs Department. Information and Public Affairs is a service department of the University of Waterloo, dedicated to advancing the University and its basic mission of seeking excellence in teaching and research.

    Internal Communications is best known as "the Gazette office" and is responsible for the Gazette newspaper. The Gazette covers news, collects announcements, advertisements, letters and reports from many sources, and packages the information for publication each Wednesday. It is a service for faculty, staff and students, and is distributed by Central Stores to department offices and distinctive racks around the campus.

    The mandate of the Gazette is to be responsible to provide information to the entire university community of governors, officers, faculty, staff, students, graduates and friends. In this context the university includes the church colleges, and the friends include people at other institutions, especially Wilfrid Laurier University, who have an interest in UW.

    In the Winter of 1997, a faculty member complained that numerous issues of the Gazette were left at a drop-off location creating a messy hallway environment. This information was passed on to the Senior Editor of the Gazette, Chris Redmond, who then contacted Patti Cook, the University of Waterloo's Waste Management co-ordinator. Patti Cook deemed this project to be a suitable waste audit project for students to investigate.

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    4.0 Project Goal and Objective

    Goal: The overall goal of this study is to eliminate paper waste in the Gazette distribution system by looking at the Gazette from the following perspectives:

    Objectives:


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    5.0 System

    The boundary of the system study is the University of Waterloo Campus including Optometry and those buildings with Gazette deliveries located within the quadrant. Westmount Road, Columbia Street, University Avenue and Phillip Street border this quadrant. Appendix A shows the sites within this boundary which receive deliveries of the Gazette. Appendix B visually depicts all buildings included in the study. Although there are drop-off locations located in Wilfrid Laurier, these points will not be considered as they are not part of the UW campus.

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    5.1 System Identification

    A diagram of the Gazette System including actors and components is located in Appendix C

    The University of Waterloo financially supports the Internal Communications Division of the Information and Public Affairs Department and thus the Gazette. The Internal Communication Division co-ordinates the Gazette and relays important information to the Waste Manager Co-ordinator and to the University’s faculty and staff. The Gazette relies to some degree on its advertisers for funding. Internal Communications maintains a Gazette Internet Site. The problem with this site is that most people are uninformed about its existence and it is not updated in a timely manner. The Gazette directly interacts with the printer, CanWeb Printing, (outside the University and privately contracted) to print the Gazette each week. The printer then drops its weekly bundle to Central Stores for distribution. The printer also interacts with the Recycling Contractor and Custodial Services for the pick-up and disposal of leftover printed Gazettes. However, this still remains to be a grey area. It is unclear as to how unread issues are collected for disposal. Central Stores is directly connected to readership. Central Stores distributes the editions to drop off locations and faculty and staff mailboxes. The Waste Management Co-ordinator oversees the activities of the Custodial Staff and the Recycling Contractor.

    The inputs of this system are the information gathered through the Internal Communications Division and the Gazette. Additionally, an alternative input is the funding that comes from its advertisers and the University of Waterloo. The output of the system is the publication and distribution of the Gazette.

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    5.2 Importance of System

    The Gazette distribution system is important because it requires financing and generates a high amount of recyclable paper waste which is important as it reduces the load on landfull sites. The Gazette contributes to the total amount of waste paper produced on campus. Chris Redmond, the Gazette editor, stated that 10,000 copies of the Gazette are published each week, regardless of which term the university is in. Of that figure, approximately 7,000 copies are circulated to lobbies, hallways, and various drop-off points, and the remaining 3,000 copies are distributed to the various mail rooms for faculty, staff, and graduate students.

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    5.3 System Study

    5.3.1 Actor System

    Upon initial observation, students do not seem to be a core actor in this system. However, they are core actors. Since faculty and staff already receive the Gazette in their mailboxes, the majority of people to pick up the Gazettes would be students.

    The University campus constitutes the system’s environment. All Gazette-related activities occur within this closed environment with the exception of the printing and disposal.

    The target audience of the Gazette is the University faculty, staff and students.

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    5.3.2 The System Design

    Although our research will attempt to enhance the efficiency of the general Gazette system, studying the hierarchy of systems is of vital importance. The Gazette system is arranged in this sequential order of components: editing, printing, delivering, reading and disposal. For each component there is a subsystem. This subsystem is important to the whole structure of the System Diagram (Appendix C) particularly with regard to efficiency (the delivery of the Gazettes) and as a transit for communication (e.g. Information and Public Affairs). These subsystems will also be of great importance in the analysis of leftover newspapers or poor recycling habits that could surface in our data.

    The components of the University of Waterloo’s media system are the Gazette, the IMPRINT, and to a lesser extent, the daily bulletin and faculty publications (e.g. the Engineering Faculty’s Iron Warrior publication). With regard to the Gazette system diagram, the components are arranged vertically to demonstrate the flow of control and affiliation towards other components. However, a mistake should not be made by assuming that one component is more important than the other due to this arrangement. Each component is vital to the overall efficiency of the system. A box denotes a component of the system (e.g. Printer).

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    5.3.3 System Behaviour

    The Gazette system is constantly changing. Readership varies by student enrolment, by seasonal academic term and also by the desire of readers to gain a knowledge of what is occurring on campus. Faculty and staff employment numbers will affect the number of Gazettes being distributed to each department.

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    5.3.4 System Surprises

    Our attempt to help the Gazette newspaper system become more efficient is subject to these potential vulnerabilities:


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    6.0 Results

    6.1 Methodology

    Our research group also examined the distribution system of the Gazette newspaper in order to make recommendations to solve potential distribution problems. Our measurement procedures involved:

    Previous day’s quantity – Quantity remaining = Daily quantity taken

    Using this data, our group has constructed graphs for each drop-off location, and data has been extrapolated to predict how many additional bundles should be added to these locations.

     

    Another aspect of our data collection involved examining the appearance of drop-off locations for the Gazette newspaper. Since a major goal of the Gazette staff is to make their newspapers available to students, staff and faculty, drop-off locations were examined for examples of poor distribution practices by Central Stores, premature disposal by custodial staff, and other such problems. These problems were recorded and will be reported to the Gazette staff.

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    6.2 Evaluation Criteria of the Gazette System

    The following criteria were used to evaluate the Gazette system.

      1. No drop-off spot must be empty at the end of one week.
      2. No drop-off spot must have more than one bundle of Gazettes remaining at the end of one week.
      3. All printed Gazettes that are delivered from the printers to Central Stores (the distributors) must be distributed to drop-off locations.
      4. All Gazette newspapers must be recycled.

    These criteria must be evaluated on a regular basis in the future due to the possibilities of readership increases/decreases and also due to fluctuating university enrollment.

     

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    6.3 Study Findings

    Our study findings are varied between drop-off locations. A complete list of our observations is located in Appendix E. Subsections of 6.3 specifically deal with our observations and recommendations regarding areas requiring decreased or increased distributions.

    We found many sites with more than one bundle of papers remaining after one week and other sites which ran out of papers before the next print run. Section 6.3.1 pertains to sites that need a reduction in the number distributed to them. Section 6.3.2 provides an interpretation and recommendation for sites requiring an increase in the number distrubuted.

    Fifty papers are strapped in a bundle of Gazettes. We investigated whether this figure could be decreased so as to increase redistribution flexability. Ed Goodwin of Central Stores pointed out that this would increase the number of plastic straps required to bundle papers. Thus, the amount of plastic waste would increase.

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    6.3.1 Reduced Distribution Sites

    There are several drop-off locations in the Gazette distribution system that must receive fewer bundles of Gazette newspapers. These recommendations were made based on the formula:

    distribution number -issues remaining = recommended distribution

    The result of this equation was then rounded up to the nearest bundle (50).

    These drop-off locations, with their recommended bundle reductions are displayed in the following chart.

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    6.3.2 Increased Distribution Sites

    In addition, three drop-off locations are being recommended for an increase in bundles distributed because of a shortage noted during data collection. These recommendations were made based on the number of times that the site ran out of Gazette issues. If the location never had Gazette issues remaining at the end of one week, an increase of 100 issues was suggested. If a location ran out of issues some of the time an increase of 50 was suggested. Increases were not recommended for locations where it was felt that Custodial Services were prematurely disposing of Gazette issues. Values of zero were not considered at locations where it was felt that remaining Gazette issues were disposed of by Custodial Services prematurely. The locations, with recommended bundle increases are displayed in the following chart.

    The total number of Gazettes distributed each week according to the distribution list is 7,144 copies. Our recommended number of Gazettes to be distributed is 6,094 according to our calculations. Since printing orders is incremented by thousands, we recommend that 7,000 copies of Gazettes be printed instead of the current figure of 10,000. Appendix E contains a detailed table showing the recommended number of papers distributed to each location.

    Many of the Gazette drop off locations do not have racks to display the current issue. Often, in the case of locations without display racks such as Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology; Engineering Lecture; and Davis Centre custodial services is more likely to remove the remaining Gazette issues before the new issue is produced. In Engineering-2, below, the Gazette is displayed on the radiator.

    It is recommended that the following locations be supplied with Gazette display racks:

    Two locations, Dana Porter Library and South Campus Hall, had Gazette racks that were not used to house Gazette issues. It is recommended that these racks be used in their current location or relocated to another location in need of a Gazette display rack.

    Biology 1 and Davis Centre (by the pop machine) do not have display racks. If Gazette issues are in fact distributed to these locations, a display rack should be supplied to each.

    Central Stores delivers more papers to three locations than the Gazette distribution list specifies. These locations are Arts Lecture, Chemistry-Biology Link and Math and Computers (5th and 6th floors). Therefore we are unable to make recommendations regarding new distribution quantities to these locations.

    After discussions with Tom Galloway of Custodial Services, we have determined the role custodial services plays in the disposal of expired copies of Gazettes. For locations without racks, Gazette copies tend to become scattered. For these locations, custodial services will collect and dispose of stray and leftover copies that are littering the hallways. For locations with racks, custodial services will not dispose of Gazettes as long as these copies remain in the racks. Custodial services will only become involved when the racks reach their full capacity and Central Stores is compelled to place the new copies on the floor besides the racks. This may lead to a cluttered appearance in the general vicinity of the drop-off location.

    Finally, our observations of activities that discourage Gazette readership have led to the following conclusions:

    1. Central Stores employees should be required to remove plastic straps from bundled newspapers when they are delivered to every drop-off location.
    2. Chemistry Office staff should not lock Gazette newspapers inside the office at the end of each day.
    3. Distributed Gazettes should be in plain sight and easily accessible (e.g. not on coat racks).


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    7.0 Conclusions

    These are the conclusions and findings that resulted from our data collection:


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    8.0 Recommendations

    According to Patti Cook, approximately 1,250 copies are left undistributed at Central Stores each week and go directly from there to the recycling depot. This figure is close to our figure of 1,350 copies.

    Three actions could be taken to remedy this situation and ensure sustainability of the UW campus. Firstly, Gazettes could be redistributed to those drop-off points that seem to run out of Gazettes before the next issue. These hot spots would receive more copies and less popular locations would receive fewer papers. By doing this, the chances that a Gazette will be picked up and read will be more likely and thus the copy will not be wasted, as it would be if it were recycled without having been read first. Secondly, the total number of Gazettes printed should vary by term according to the approximate number of people on campus. For example, more copies should be printed in the fall and winter rather than during the spring/summer term since there are more students and professors on campus during fall and winter terms. A third action that could be taken would be to develop the Gazette website and update this page regularly. In addition, the homepage should be made more prominent and accessible. Presently, the link to this site lies embedded within the UW Info homepage. More prominence and convenient accessibility would encourage people to access the page more instead of reading the paper copy, thereby decreasing the need for the number of Gazettes to be printed. A reduction in the quantity printed would save the University money, which could be put to better use. These actions are aimed towards reducing the quantity of Gazettes left unread at the end of each week, which will contribute towards our vision of a sustainable UW campus.

    8.1 Current Recommendations

    1. The printing contract should be renegotiated to allow for variable printing numbers based on the term.
    2. The print number should reduced.
    3. The recommended distribution numbers on the data table (Appendix E) should be implemented for the spring term.
    4. The Gazette staff should assign the task removing out-of-date issues the evening before the next distribution.
    5. Gazette racks should be relocated and purchased to ensure that each drop-off location is supplied with a rack.
    6. Central Stores should be educated on the importance of following the distribution list.

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    8.2 Recommendations for Future Study

    Our group has made the following recommendations for further ERS 285 projects or other such studies:

    1. Similar research projects should be conducted each term since enrollment is different in the Winter, Fall, and Spring terms.
    2. Similar research projects should be conducted in the future based on enrollment trends.
    3. Similar research projects should be conducted (on a regular basis) for each of the University of Waterloo’s newspaper publications such as the IMPRINT, and the Iron Warrior.
    4. Similar research projects should be conducted to determine whether our recommendations for distribution changes were implemented and to evaluate the effectiveness of our recommendations.


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Appendices


Appendix A, Drop-off Locations

RETURN TO: 5.0 System


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Appendix B, Campus Map

RETURN TO: 5.0 System


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Appendix C, System Diagram

RETURN TO: 5.1 System Identification

RETURN TO: 5.3.2 System Design


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Appendix D, Contact People

Patti Cook
UW Waste Management Coordinator
888-4567 X3245

Chris Redmond
Gazette Editor, Needles Hall
888-4567 X3004

Stan (Butch) Shantz
Central Stores, East Campus Hall
888-4567 X4855

Tom Gallaway
Custodial and Ground Services
888-4567 X5676

CanWeb Printing Ltd
Grimsby, Ontario

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Appendix E, Data Collection Table

RETURN TO: 6.3 Study Findings

RETURN TO: 8.1 Current Recommendations


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Last updated: August 4, 1997 by: sjt