The Pitfalls Of Paper: Why It’s Time To Go Paperless This Earth Day

The Pitfalls Of Paper: Why It’s Time To Go Paperless This Earth Day

The Pitfalls Of Paper: Why It’s Time To Go Paperless This Earth Day

Paper production is detrimental to the environment, with wide-ranging negative impacts on forests, water and air quality, many local communities, and more. (Not to mention pesky papercuts.) Paper use is steadily increasing each year and has quadrupled over the last 50 years. Globally, we recently exceeded 400 million tons of paper production per year, nearly 20% of which is produced in the United States. A quarter of global paper consumption is for printing and writing – that’s 100 million tons. Colleges and schools are a large contributor to that number. Besides hurting the environment, using paper is causing your school a handful of problems. Read on to consider why it’s time to go paperless this Earth Day.

How Much Paper Does Your School Actually Use?

One student did the math: estimating each student to consume 2,500 sheets of paper per semester for assessments, homework, attendance, and more. A school with 1,000 students generates 2.5 million sheets of paper, or 25,000 pounds of paper in fifteen weeks. That’s over 3,000 trees every six months, not including paper used for administrative files.

This Earth Day, eliminate unnecessary paper consumption in your school to save time, money, and the planet. If that isn’t enough reason to go paperless, check out these other ways that paper is holding you back.

Cost of Printing and Storage

A huge issue associated with paper-based processes is the storage and maintenance. When you take into account the labor costs of filing, a four-drawer filing cabinet can cost $25,000 to fill, and an extra $2,000 per year to maintain.


Not only are paper records a waste of physical space, but the average school spends about $3,000-$4,000 on paper, ink, and toner each month. About 10 percent of a school’s annual budget is spent on printing, not including the costs of printer maintenance and repair.


Through digital processes, institutions can save money by reducing the need for printing and physical storage space.

Accuracy and Timeliness Risks

With any paper processes comes messy handwriting. Illegible writing causes a major headache for institutions that rely on accurate and timely data. For example, registrars managing attendance records sometimes can’t decipher an instructor’s handwriting and must get in contact with them to double check. This wastes precious time that could otherwise be spent directly working with students.

Unreliable Record Management

Rummaging through boxes and cabinets to find documents is a pain. And when preparing for audits, the process becomes even more complicated and tedious. 


Paper can easily be lost and damaged, which is a problem that can impact the school, its staff, and its students. Many career education programs require their students to track their physical operations on a tracking sheet. If this sheet gets lost or damaged, students will need to spend even more of their time and money starting their operations over. Digital record keeping utilizes cloud technology, providing a backup of information and an easy way to find relevant documents.

Go Paperless Today

From attendance tracking and sign-in sheets to tests and quizzes, technology exists to digitize all these manual tasks and completely end your need for paper in the process. This ultimately saves your school time, money, and all other paper-related headaches. 


Not to mention, your reduced usage of natural resources will have a great impact on the future of our planet. Schools have a tremendous opportunity to digitize many of their paper-based processes. Going paperless will relieve schools of the burdens listed above while contributing to a global cause.


Consider switching to CourseKey to digitize your entire attendance process while improving compliance and retention. Request a demo below to learn more today.

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