Reducing Paper Use: How to Consume Less of the Largest Waste Generator in the Office

As more companies implement green solutions every day, your business should also keep up and help in the world’s efforts to reduce waste. One way to do this is by consuming less paper.

Offices tend to print loads of documents daily, despite digital copies being efficient enough. We could assume that hard copies are for backup purposes, considering that digital files can be at risk of loss. However, with today’s more advanced technologies such as the cloud, the chances of data loss have been reduced to a minimum. So, how much do we still need papers, then?

If going paperless is infeasible for the nature of your business, here are ways to at least reduce your consumption of it, and some paper reusing and recycling tips:

1. Identify the Purposes of Hard Copies

As you try to consume less paper, identify first the purposes of your hard copies. You’d certainly pick out something unnecessary among the purposes you’ve identified, such as inessential reports, for example. Eliminate that specific unnecessary purpose, and announce it to your whole organization so everyone would start printing less.

Set up your printers to automatically print back-to-back pages to avoid using multiple pages when printing important reports. As for the quality of your papers, choose lightweight ones when possible, since you’d most likely rely more on your reports’ digital versions, anyway.

2. Reuse File Folders and Envelopes

Aside from bond papers, file folders and envelopes also tend to be consumed excessively. Allow your staff to reuse these paper products as well by just changing the labels on them. The old documents previously stored in those envelopes and folders can be shredded and recycled.

3. Use Digital Copies

Since inessential reports will no longer be printed, just type and disseminate the information in those reports digitally. Instead of printing multiple copies of memos and distributing them among different departments, you can just send it to everyone via email or instant messaging. The same procedure should be applied to newsletters and special announcemen

4. Skip Cover Sheets in Faxes

Either that or skip faxing altogether, since sending file attachments in emails is more efficient. Besides, files can be edited electronically, too, so a fax machine isn’t really necessary if you have a client who needs to fill out some forms.

5. Make Money From Shredded Paper and Cardboard

Invest in a high-quality paper and cardboard shredder such as a ProfiPack P425. The shredded material can be used as an alternative for plastic packaging, padding, void filler, and more. If your business won’t have any use for those, you can make money out of them by selling your shredded paper and cardboard to recycling companies or to manufacturers looking for cheap quality packaging.

6. Maintain Printers and Copiers

Aside from printing a lot of reports, papers consumption is also increased by frequent paper jams and poor ink quality. Hence, check and test your machines regularly to ensure that their rollers aren’t damaged and that their ink cartridges are full. Use a scratch paper to test the machines’ performance, then put the scratch paper in the shredder.

Be careful when inserting papers in the machines’ trays as well, because incorrect paper insertion is the most common cause of jams.

Consuming less paper isn’t only sustainable development; it’s also an effective cost-saving strategy for your company. Be open to going completely paperless in the future, too, considering that there now many businesses mainly relying on digital files.

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