The saying goes “Humans Are The Only Creatures in This world who will cut down a tree, make paper from it, and then write “Save the Trees” on it.”
However, by investing time to find options to reduce paper consumption in your office, not only do you reduce your contribution to the heaps of waste that ends up in landfills, you protect descendants of forests that will supply oxygen for aeons to come. Here are a few suggestions on how to achieve this, one tree at a time:
- Do not print a document of 50 pages if you only need page 30.
- Avoid printing company policies and standard operating procedure manuals. Rather convert them to PDF versions so employees can access and read them at leisure.
- When printing a web page, copy and paste the text into a Word sheet to format the document correctly. Most web pages contain a lot of ads, unnecessary information and graphics you really do not want. By printing the web page as they are, you risk the chance of using a quarter acre of rainforest and color ink.
- Print duplex, meaning on both sides, at this day and age technology allows you to do this easily.
- Use smaller margins on your documents so your printer uses less paper.
- Proofread your work, making sure everything is correct, so you print only what you need.
- Size does matter, and in this case less is more, thus don’t use more paper than you need.
- Re-use one-sided paper for sketches, drafts and rough-notes. The recycle bin next to the printer is an excellent source of paper for a rustic looking notepad, just grab a handful, staple together and voila.
- Shred used paper and use as packing material.
- Use email instead of paper or faxes whenever practical, for internal memos and communications with clients and customers.
- Do not print email messages and do incorporate a serious, but subtle message at the bottom of all emails, encouraging people not to use paper unnecessarily, e.g. “The axe forgets but the tree remembers.” (maybe something a bit less threatening.)
- Insist on receiving and paying bills electronically.
- Have a dedicated Purchase order system in place. Procurementexpress.com is a purchase approval system that contorts to your company’s needs, not the other way around. Book a free demo to find out more.
- Insist on reusable coffee cups and plates for the office or bring your own and ban paper cups and plates.
- Use a USB stick or email to move electronic documents around rather than printing them.
- Move away from paper towels in restrooms and kitchens and rather make use of air dryers and cloth towels.
- Using other paper alternatives makes a small change but have a bigger impact in the long run, for example hemp-based paper is 100% wood-free. Other natural materials used are fibres from cotton, bamboo and recycled fabrics.
It is a small change but can have a major impact in the war against unnecessary waste and creates a new culture of resourcefulness and responsibility. Remember today, to save a tree.