Reduce Your Paper Waste

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Tracy / Flickr

 

The average office employee uses approximately 10,000 sheets of paper a year, creating a stack almost four feet high! Here are a few ways to cut back on your paper trail at home and the office:

  • Copy on both sides of the paper. This is especially efficient for internal documents and drafts. Keep a tray of one-sided paper in the copy room for easy access.

  • Buy recycled paper. It takes 60 percent less energy to manufacture paper from recycled stock than from virgin materials. Buying paper made from a high percentage of post-consumer waste helps reduce the number of trees needed to make paper "from scratch." It also keeps paper out of the landfill.

  • Use chlorine-free paper. If choosing bleached paper, select one that is either totally chlorine-free (TCF) or process chlorine-free (PCF). Bleaching paper with chlorine creates a serious carcinogen called dioxin. Chlorine-free processes use oxygen, hydrogen peroxide or other compounds that do not produce such dangerous byproducts.

  • Try alternative materials. Buy Kenaf, hemp, agri-pulp, or bamboo papers to avoid cutting down trees and save energy.
  • Find alternatives to mail. Avoid printing on paper when a phone call, email, or text will do.
  • Eliminate unnecessary subscriptions. Cancel newspapers, newsletters, phone books, and magazines you don't read or can access online. You can remove your name from mailing lists by following these steps.
  • Do a "paper" audit. Determine the kind and volume of paper waste your company generates, then take steps to use less. 
  • Make recycling easy. Place recycling bins in high-traffic areas, including the conference room and kitchen as well as by the copier and fax machines. 
  • Use a routing slip to circulate copies throughout the office.

 

 

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