Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Computers and printing

Most University staff and students use a computer or other electronic equipment every day.

The environmental and social impact of making, running and disposing of electronic equipment is significant.

It is characterised by complex supply chains which in past have been troubled by labour rights issues and sourcing minerals from conflict zones.

The University was the first University in Europe to join Electronics Watch, who monitor labour standards in the electronics industry

There are a number of ways to help reduce the environmental impact of your computer.

What you can do

The first things you can do to make your computer and printer use more sustainable.


Did you know?

Using a laptop is often more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than using a PC.

Purchase a computer with Select PC

Switch your computer to its best energy saving mode.

On Windows supported desktop, this is called “Power saver” and can be found by searching for “Power options”.
Do not buy new devices unless you need to.  See if you can reuse a second hand item from within your department. Check your old device’s warranty to see if it can be repaired by the manufacturer - most University computers have a 3 year warranty period.
Make sure you’re printing double sided. 

It only takes a couple of minutes to set your computer to print double sided, and its the default for University SelectPrint printers.

Can someone else use your old computer? 

Check whether anyone else in your area can use your old machine, but be careful with sensitive data.

Check the procurement website for the latest recommended computers.  Procurement and Information Services work together with other public sector organisations to find the best option according to a number of factors, including its sustainability.
Print in black and white. Printing in black and white is about ten times cheaper than printing in colour and more sustainable as well.


Reuse things with WARPIT

PCs are now available on WARPIT. Have a look on our sharing website if you need a PC or have one that you no longer need.

Learn more about WARPIT

Marking essays electronically

Ian McNeill and Sue Renton at the School of Social and Political studies discuss how they improved the student experience and saved paper by switching to electronic marking.


Our goal is maximise the resource efficiency of all Information and Communications Technology (ICT) provision.

Taking things further

It's easy to take things even further. Here are some suggestions.


Work together to reduce the amount of paper you use. Scan documents rather than sending photocopies, put PDF documents on the web and send meeting notes and agenda electronically.
Encourage others to adapt sustainable computing practices. Think about how you can make your day-to-day work more efficient.
When buying for yourself, consider these questions.
  1. What's the life of the product? When will you want to replace it and what is its warranty?
  2. What is its energy efficiency? Does it have an Energy Star label?
  3. Is it repairable? Is the battery removable and can software be easily updated? 

Did you know?

Your computer can help save CO2 by replacing carbon intensive journeys with efficient video conferencing software meetings.

  • Decrease financial costs by avoiding payment for the journey
  • Improve staff productivity
  • Reduce environmental costs by minimising CO2 emissions.

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