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State offices need a recycling program

Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2009

As many know, offices go through a lot of paper. The state possibly uses more paper than most, since we need, at any given point in time, at least seventeen color-coded copies of every document in a dozen different locations (I exaggerate, but only slightly).

This ensures legal and financial accountability, so that there are records and backup records for everything we do. It also ensures the deaths of many a worthy tree. So you may be surprised, and even dismayed, to find that we who work for the state government simply shred these documents and throw them out when we're done with them.

That's right: Reams upon reams of paper are simply tossed into the landfill every day. We don't recycle, despite there being no good reason for us not to. The whole idea behind shredding documents is to make them unreadable, so confidentiality isn't an issue here. It seems to me that this is simply an oversight on the part of policy-makers, or maybe some nefarious scheme concocted by libertarians to make government appear wasteful by consciously making it so. It's hard to be sure these days.

Either way, our current practice is wasteful and should be stopped. My boss let me take our office's shredded documents to the recycling center on my own time several years ago, but I don't think my little Ford Focus could handle all of the state's shredded paper unless they made me the official state paper recycler and gave me my own special recycling truck and a 20 percent raise.

I will be writing a letter to Gov. Sean Parnell, and if this waste of paper just doesn't sit right with you, please do the same. It's not like I'm talking about health care reform or toilet paper here; it's so easy to recycle that there's no excuse not to do it.

Josh Carter

Department of Administration Employee

Juneau



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