Have you ever
While paper is a necessity in most offices, there are ways to cut back on your paper consumption and use recycled paper products. The following tips will help you make wise paper choices. In the process, you'll save time, money, and natural resources.
One of the easiest ways to use less paper is to make a few simple alterations to your formatting habits. Use the smallest legible font size
When you approach your copier or set up a print job on your computer, keep reduction in mind. Copy on both sides of the paper program your copy machine to turn single–sided originals into double–sided copies. It's an effortless way (the copier does all the work, after all) to cut your paper use in half when copying. Don't print everything out
Using email or voicemail to communicate with your co–workers and clients can save valuable resources and is often faster than traditional paper methods of correspondence. Instead of distributing paper copies of a memo, send it around via email. Writing a letter? Think about whether the information can be conveyed just as well with a phone call or email. Both of these alternatives will usually allow your recipients to receive your message more quickly, meaning that you may get a response right away. Also, try out the various paperless faxing programs that are now available
If you have documents that your employees need to share, set up a corporate Intranet, or internal Web site, that allows them to access the documents electronically and simultaneously. For example, your company's operating policies can be posted on an Intranet rather than printed out and distributed. This solution will save time as well as paper
Making errors while printing or copying is bound to happen, but you don't have to let those "mistakes" go to waste. Instead of automatically discarding the cast–off paper, save it for scrap paper or use the reverse side for printing draft copies. Once you've used the paper to it's fullest, make sure that it ends up in your recycling bin. Almost all types of office paper are recyclable
You recycle your office paper, so why not close the circle and buy only recycled paper? According to the National Office Paper Recycling Project, "If you collect recyclable paper, but do not purchase recycled products, you discourage manufacturers of recycled products and contribute to the flooding of the waste paper market and discourage office paper recycling in the long run."
Buy paper with as high a post–consumer recycled content as possible. Post–consumer content refers to materials such as office paper "that have served their useful lives and would otherwise end up in a landfill or incinerator."3 A minimum of 10% post–consumer content is common, but you can find paper with higher levels if you do some searching. It's a good idea to establish minimum recycled content standards for the paper products you buy. All U.S. Government agencies, for example, are required to use writing and copier paper that contains 30% post–consumer materials.4 Remember that you can purchase all types of recycled paper products for your office
Also, be sure to advertise that you're using recycled paper. Indicate your commitment on the back of your reports, brochures, and even your letterhead. It's smart business sense to let your customers know that you care about the environment, and leading by example is a powerful way to encourage others to use recycled paper.
1Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, http://www.moea.state.mn.us/campaign/workplace.
2Colorado Association of Recycling, Office Recycling Information, http://www.cafr.org/office/office_guide.htm.
3The Alliance for Environmental Innovation, with Business for Social Responsibility (a project of the Environmental Defense Fund and The Pew Charitable Trust), "Make That Recycled: A Buyer's Guide to Recycled Coated Freesheet Paper," June 2000, p. 5, http://www.edf.org/pubs/Reports/coatedfreesheet.pdf.
4Executive Order 13101, Greening the Government Through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition, Section 505, September 14, 1998.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]