Paper is not a finite resource. Half a tree is needed to create a carton of printer paper. If you think that’s a lot, a University of Leicester student calculated how much paper we would need to print out the entire internet in 2015. The answer was 136 billion sheets of A4 paper. This is around 1% of the Amazon rainforest, which doesn’t sound too bad until you calculate the environmental impact of producing that much paper.
Now that your brain is officially fried, it is time to consider how much paper you waste in your office. If you are the type of person who routinely prints off emails, random articles from the internet, and your vacation photos, the answer is way too much.
Don’t worry, though, as most of us are guilty of that crime. The problem is that we don’t pay much attention to the amount of paper we use – and waste – at work. Because paper seems to be an infinite resource, we use it without a care in the world. However, reducing paper waste is important if we want to preserve the environment. To help you do your bit for the environment, here are some simple tips.
Before you send a document to the printer, ask yourself: do I need to print this file? In many cases, the answer will be “no”. Where possible, print to PDF and distribute documents via file sharing or email. Request paperless billing and store files in the cloud. Use digital signatures to support your paperless office aspirations.
Print on Both Sides
If you have no alternative but to print off a document, print in draft mode and make sure you print on both sides of the paper. This will use less ink and reduce your paper consumption by 50%.
Recycle Scrap Paper
Scrap paper can be recycled. Print on the reverse side of scrap paper or use scrap sheets to make notes, doodle, or write down telephone messages for colleagues. You can even take scrap paper home for your kids to use for art projects. Finally, what’s left can be recycled via a local recycling service.
Reuse Paper for Packaging and Pets
Invest in a document shredder (which is always useful for an office). Shredded paper can be reused as packaging material for delicate items or even as pet bedding. Small animals love shredded paper, as it’s warm and dust-free.
Don’t discard boxes from supplier deliveries. Reuse boxes for storage or packaging when you send out parcels to clients. Any boxes that can’t be reused because of branding can be recycled.
Try Going Paperless
Creating a paperless office takes a bit of work, but it can be done. Talk to your employees and encourage them to get on board by investing in file-sharing and reducing printing.
Replace Paper Towels with Hand Dryers
Paper hand towels are incredibly wasteful and not always hygienic. Swap hand towel dispensers for air dryers instead. They tend to work better and restrooms are instantly tidier.
This is just a small selection of the different ways you can cut down on paper usage and help the environment. If you have any more ideas, let us know.
This post is in association with gocanvas