Last spring Lauinger Library made a little publicized, but welcome change by offering double-sided printing. For all its progressiveness, though, the library is missing a valuable opportunity to jump on the go-green train.
The new feature is readily available to informed students who take the time to choose the option when they send their documents to the printer. This option is both convenient and environmentally friendly. The problem is with the pricing structure and marketing.
Unfortunately the new technology did not come with a change in price. Currently, students pay 10 cents for each single-sided, black-and-white sheet they print, and 20 cents for each double-sided, black-and-white sheet. This effectively means that students gain nothing but some extra binder space by printing double-sided. With no incentive and little advertisement regarding the availability or directions of use of duplex printing, students are unlikely to take advantage of a feature Lauinger went out of its way to offer.
The library should encourage students to save paper by printing double-sided by charging a few cents less for double-sided copies (15 cents, perhaps). A double-sided sheet can’t cost the same as a single-sided sheet because it uses more ink. If one student is making a conscientious effort to use half the amount of paper, however, he or she should not be charged the same price.
For a university that promotes eco-friendly practices in its dining hall, academic buildings and residence halls, giving students the added incentive to use less paper seems only natural. With all of the other smart changes the library has made in the past few months, this one should be a no-brainer.