UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Stop the Press: Pulling the Plug on PALS Printing

Pull the Plug on PALS Printing

As part of PALS Green Day 2021, the UCL PALS Green Impact Team proudly launched the 'Pull the Plug on PALS Printing' initiative. This forward-thinking programme aimed to significantly reduce the Division’s reliance on printing, championing sustainable practices in line with UCL's broader sustainability strategy.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the feasibility of a paperless work environment. With this in mind, the PALS Green Impact Team encourages everyone to join the movement by ditching their printers whenever possible. When printing is unavoidable, they recommend double-sided printing, reducing page margins, using recycled paper, and setting machines to greyscale economy modes by default.

Impressive Reductions in Printing

The initiative's impact has been significant. Over the years, PALS has significantly reduced its office printer inventory through three distinct phases: from early 2019 to mid-2021, 18 printers were decommissioned; between mid-2021 and August 2023, 28 more were removed; and from August 2023 to May 2024, an additional 9 printers were decommissioned. This systematic reduction has streamlined the printer estate from an initial 79 devices down to just 24.

Further, an analysis of printing usage before and after the pandemic demonstrates substantial reductions across various PALS sites, notably in Chandler House and Bedford Way.

Chandler House:

- Ground Floor Copier:

  - Pre-pandemic: 42,031 prints

  - Post-pandemic: 15,945 prints

  - Reduction: 62%

- 3rd Floor Copier:

  - Pre-pandemic: 90,784 prints

  - Post-pandemic: 31,436 prints

  - Reduction: 65%

Bedford Way:

- 2nd Floor Communal Copier:

  - Pre-pandemic: 75,302 prints

  - Post-pandemic: 28,506 prints

  - Reduction: 62%

- 3rd Floor General Office Copier:

  - Pre-pandemic: 121,920 prints

  - Post-pandemic: 1,702 prints

  - Reduction: 98%

- 4th Floor Copier:

  - Pre-pandemic: 46,534 prints

  - Post-pandemic: 5,651 prints

  - Reduction: 87%

Overall, printing on main communal devices decreased by over 60% since the launch of the initiative.

Leadership and Teamwork

John Draper, UCL PALS Head of Administration, expressed his pride in the PALS Green Impact Team’s efforts: "The 'Pull the Plug on PALS Printing' initiative is a testament to our commitment to sustainability. The significant reduction in printing not only showcases our ability to adapt but also positions us as leaders in environmental responsibility at the university."

Dave Hetherington, UCL PALS Head of IT, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the IT team's role in the initiative. "We are proud to have supported this critical effort and analysed the usage data. The impressive reductions speak volumes about our collective dedication to reducing our environmental footprint."

A Vision for the Future

Perhaps one day the need for printers in PALS will be eliminated entirely, relieving the workload burden on the PALS IT and Finance teams. In the meantime, as PALS continues to strive to be a leader in sustainability practices at UCL, initiatives like this bring us closer to a greener, more efficient future.