Green Offices Reduce Paper Use

We should be smarter about paper waste. (Photo: John Lambert Pearson/Flickr)

Changing the way you think about paper is one of the easiest ways to make an eco-friendly change in your office. Gone are the days of printing out multiple copies of meeting notes to hand out during staff meetings; digital presentations have replaced this paper hog. There is no longer a need to print out important emails to take home; you can sync your PDA, and your email is now mobile.

These are just a few of the more commonly implemented paper-saving strategies, however these two are just the beginning of the paper reduction techniques used by companies around the world. The Philadelphia Eagles have a “Go Green” initiative that includes the use of recycled paper products which saves close to 3,000 trees annually. Source: MNN

In November 2008, Techsoup launched the “Reduce Paper Use” Challenge. According to the challenge, “the average office worker uses 130 lbs. of paper/year. That is approximately 37 reams of paper per person.” Source: Techsoup

The paper challenge is over, but offices can implement the ideas found on the Techsoup website including purchasing recycled paper products, printing or copying on both sides of the paper, changing the margins to increase your printing space per page and utilizing print management software.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has dedicated a green living guide to paper use in the office, Smart Paper: A Guide for Businesses. On the website, you can find out how to implement a smart paper policy in your office and read real world implementations of the NRDC suggestions.

One example given on the NRDC website is a change made by Bank of America. It may have initially looked like a small change but the results were significant. The receipts used in the company’s ATM machines were reduced to 15-pound paper from 20-pound, this saves the bank approximately $500,000 annually.

There are plenty of resources available on how to reduce your company’s paper use, and sometimes the first step is the most difficult. If your company does not have an eco-friendly paper-use policy, there is no better time than now to implement one.