This number can fluctuate greatly depending on the size of the school and how much effort is made to prevent excess paper waste. In many schools, teachers are given unique copy codes for the school’s copy machines that allow them a certain amount of copies over a period of time (say, 3500 sheets per quarter or semester). Some teachers will save paper by creating class sets of materials that can be used repeatedly. Furthermore, the number of paper consumed by teachers also depends on their preference of using textbooks or teacher-generated paper materials. Generally, teachers try not to waste paper, and school districts promote conservation practices to make resources last longer and to stay under budget. School recycling clubs also ensure that discarded paper makes it to recycling centers rather than landfills.
There will always be waste, even in public, nonprofit institutions. Rest assured, however, because over the years, teachers (and administrators) become pros at making the most out of limited resources and often find alternatives to paper use. For example, students can use whiteboards and dry-erase markers for math drills, create PowerPoint presentations in place of written history reports, or submit essays to teachers online through anti-plagiarism host sites. I used to work at a school where one of the office secretary made notepads out of quartered “mistake” papers left behind at the copy machine (I, in turn, used them to write hall passes for my students).
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