Swift, Judith [faculty sponsor, Department of Communication Studies]




University of Rhode Island; recycling; paper


The University of Rhode Island has a well-established recycling program, however, the university community does not make full and proper use of the services and facilities provided. This project will specifically look at the use and disposal of paper products that are used for business and educational purposes at the University of Rhode Island and the effects these practices have both up- and down-stream. This analysis will be accomplished by examining the source and disposal of these university-used paper products through interviews with knowledgeable individuals, including those with oversight on the ordering, management, and disposal of professional paper products, a survey of university faculty, as well as background research. This project will also examine how paper is produced and the accompanying environmental impacts, how it is used at the university (including mandatory use of paper), and how and where the waste material is disposed. It will also suggest some simple ways the university can reduce its use of paper, thus benefiting the environment, lessening the up- and down-stream impacts, establishing better practices for students and faculty, and ultimately saving money. Additionally, this project will address the incomplete use of already existing technology at the university, which would significantly help in the reduction of paper use and bring the university closer the most desirable sustainability goal, that of a paperless institution. The aim of this project is to encourage change at the University of Rhode Island, so that it is a more socially responsible institution and a model for other institutions in Rhode Island and beyond.