Reduce the use of office paper by 20% within five years. Sound ambitious? Maybe, but the Paper-Less Alliance reckon it's not so difficult and what's more your business or government department will save megabucks in the process. And not simply in the cost of paper or toner.
A Price Waterhouse report found that 50% of a professional's time is spent looking for information and that 7.5% of all documents get lost forever and must be constantly recreated. If one office worker filed four paper files per day a business might end up paying that employee about $1,700 for trips to the filing cabinet. A 500GB hard disk could store over 520 x 4 drawer filing cabinets of paper. 520 file cabinets is sure a lot of expensive office real estate. The Australian National Audit Office figure they gained a productivity benefit of $1.3m AUD per year by moving to electronic information storage. Two years ago we reported on the hyperactive Jon Dee and it's clear he is still imbibing the environmental red cordial. This eco campaigner, has branched out from Planet Ark, the group he co-founded about 17 years ago. Now he has a new campaign vehicle called Do Something, which is pushing a raft of environmental and social messages. One of which is the newly revamped Paper-Less Alliance.
And whilst the illuminating information the Paper-Less Alliance has gathered together for it website might have an Australian flavour, it is applicable to office the world over. Indeed multi-national businesses like Adobe and Tosihba are sponsors of the project. Plus the Paper-Less Alliance have obtained access to work undertaken by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in particular their "The 3 E's of Office Paper Reduction: Economical, Environmental, Efficient" project. For in the US, the MPCA note that "Americans throw away about 10,000 sheets per person each year. That's five sheets for every hour worked."
Paper Reduction Software
Whilst the Paper-Less Alliance website is font of knowledge about how office can get off the paper addiction, it's more than just dry information. Teaming up with PaperCut the PLA is offering free software for individuals and businesses of less than five staff. Running in the background the Paper-Less Print Logger tracks the amount if paper sent to an office printer from a computer and lets the user know how that paper consumption translates into trees, carbon emissions, energy use or monthly dollars. An industrial strength appication is also available for larger enterprises.
Invest Savings in Eco Paper
The Paper-Less Alliance's main focus is on reducing the volume of paper consumed. However when savings are made using all the tips and case studies they offer, they suggest businesses can reinvest some of those savings back into paper that has a lesser environmental impact. For example, Forest Stewardship Council certified papers, chlorine free paper, recycled paper and so on.
Note that the emphasis is on less paper not paperless, hence the important hypen in the name.
(Do Something is not only targeting the environmental and business costs of paper, but have a growing portfolio of other campaigns. These include; Ban the Bag, Bottled Water Alliance, Feed Melbourne, and Food Wise.
Images: The Paper-Less Alliance
Disclosure: Do Something's other campaign, the Bottled Water Alliance, assisted the volunteer group, Bundy On Tap (of which this writer is a member), in creating Australia's first bottled free water town.
More Green Paper Options
• Q&A;: Can My Printing Be Greener?
• How to Green Your Book - Publishers
• How to Green Your Book - Authors
• Green Press Initiative take on Harry Potter
• Wend Magazine: Paperless People-Powered Adventure Magazine
• Digital Textbooks from Zinio
• Roo Poo is "State of the Ark" from Creative Papers