Using recycled paper (made with the pulp of used paper) is a good way of conserving an important natural resource. However, currently only 27% of the paper produced in India is of the recycled variety. The rest of it is still uses fresh raw material a.k.a trees. 3 million tonnes of waste paper is collected every year, which sounds like a lot but is only 20% of the total consumed by offices and other business establishments. If we could just improve office paper recycling process, it would make a big difference.
That said, there are things we can do in our individual capacity that can also make a difference. Here are 5 things you can start doing today to cut down paper usage in your office.
1. Think before you print: If you are thinking, how to save paper in the office, here’s the golden rule you need. Every time you are ready to push the print button, just ask yourself, “Do I really need to print this?” A lot of office paper is wasted because we print unnecessarily.
2. Print more efficiently if you must:
3. Get your personal recycling box: Keep a recycling box next to your desk, and use it to throw unwanted paper. When you see office paper waste piling up next to you, you will understand your personal contribution to the problem better, which is the first step to making a difference. At the end of the week, see how you can reuse that paper. Maybe even at home? Do a paper-mache project with your kids using this paper
4. Don’t create waste for others: We really hope that no one does this anymore, but we’d prefer to err on the side of caution and advise that you don’t give handouts away at meetings and slide-decks to give away as handouts to all participants for a meeting? You can be sure that those handouts are going straight to the dustbin after your meeting. If better reinforcement is your goal, then share share one copy with everyone, and let them print on their own if they really need to – but after the meeting.
5. Update distribution lists: Are you still sending annual reports and other printed material to an old list. Take a look at it again. People may have moved jobs, or have evolved enough to now care about printed material. This is a small but very effective way to reduce the paper you use.
Bonus tip! Cut your paper towel usage in the washroom down to 1/3. Read this post to know how.
Get involved in the sustainability discussions in your office, and nominate yourself to the working group. Share ideas, spread the message
If you know of any other ways, share them with us too!