At a time of year when consumption and waste shift into overdrive, the Rogue Desk was thrilled to get the recent City of Portland's Sustainable Use Policy 2007 Annual Report.
The eight-page document, released Nov. 14, included plenty of excellent trivia. Who would have guessed that city employees used 76.8 million sheets of paper in the past year (up a couple of million since City Council passed the 2003 Sustainable Paper Use Policy, and far from the goal of reducing usage 15 percent by 2008)? Or that the parks bureau topped all users, with 23.2 million sheets?
The report also included this tantalizing morsel of hypocrisy: The bureau whose per-capita paper usage has risen the most overall since bean-counters began tracking this in 2003-2004? None other than this week's Rogue, the Office of Sustainable Development , whose 40 employees' stated function is to provide "policy and programs that integrate efforts related to energy efficiency, renewable resources, waste reduction and recycling."
Of the 20 bureaus that have reported per-capita usage each year, only five have shown an increase. But the percentage increases in all the other four put together don't equal the profligate paper pushers in OSD, whose per-capita usage soared 155 percent over the three-year period. (Overall usage rose 245 percent.)
That's pathetically unsustainable behavior compared with the average city employee, whose paper consumption, even with OSD included, declined a respectably green 4 percent over the same time frame.
Michele Crim, who tracks paper usage for OSD, says the baseline year of 2003-04 had an artificially low figure and that "we've cut copier-paper use back 40 percent."
Oh, and our copy of the paper usage report? We recycled it.