Did you know, that today, 10% of the world’s population, including Western Europe and North America, are responsible for over half of the world´s paper consumption, more than six times the world average. Paper consumption in Europe alone has increased six-fold since 1950. Some 10 000 sheets of paper are used each year by your average office worker in western industrialized countries
Here are some handy ideas to reduce your impact on the environment and save paper:
- Print duplex or two to a page – Print on both sides of the page or print two pages to a single side (also called N-Up printing). Combine both of these to print four pages on only one piece of paper! Not only save paper but also take longer to reach your print quota!
- Use PDF and go digital – Send business documents by e-mail in PDF format rather than printing and then faxing / mailing them. You no longer need to print, sign and send. Use an electronic signature and email documents that require a signature. While you’re at it, consider a FAX-to-email gateway so your inbound faxes arrive in your inbox.
- Use an electronic diary – Install a program on your laptop or computer and record all appointments and diary entries electronically.
- Send e-cards – Save money and save the planet. Personalised season’s greetings can be sent quickly and easily by email. Save on stamps, cards and envelopes. Note: Some may think you’re “cheap” doing this so make it known that your motivation is not cost savings but saving the environment!
- Use a whiteboard – Forget sticky notes and note pads. Use a white board to record all those quick and temporary notes.
- Electronic memos and bulletins – Communicate in the office electronically. Invitations, instructions and important notices can be sent via email or viewed daily on an updatable document on your intranet.
- Be selective – Print only what you need to print. Cut and paste relevant information from longer documents and print only when and what you absolutely need.
- Proof work on screen – some people prefer to print documents for proofing as it’s difficult and taxing to do the screen. Be kind to your eyes and simply enlarge the text temporarily while you proof.
- Promote awareness – place signs around your office or study encouraging these and other paper saving ideas. (Laminate them so you don’t have to reprint them.) Gentle and polite reminders are all you need.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle – have recycle bins in prominent places so people remember to use them. Use the back of old documents as scrap paper etc. Lead by example and watch others follow!