The typical U.S. office worker uses about 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. Add to that the amount of paper that we each use at home and the numbers really start to add up.
- Use shredded paper as protective padding when shipping boxes. We packed our Christmas gifts surrounded by old shredded financial documents instead of using packing peanuts.
- Be sure to use both sides of each piece of paper. While this probably won’t be possible on formal work documents, for nearly everything else it should be fine.
- Make notepads out of “once-used” paper. Cut each sheet into 4 and then make a stack held together by a staple. We have these all over the house!
- Think before you print. Check your document once, check it twice. No use in printing something just to find a typo right after printing!
- Get your name off the mailing lists. I have talked about this before, but it is a biggie – some estimates say that seven hundred million trillion tons of junk mail is sent out in the US each year. There are services that will remove you from lists for a fee, but you can do it yourself by going to Direct Marketing Association, OptOutPrescreen.com, or CatalogChoice.org. Why pay someone money to do what you can do yourself?
- Reuse file folders and envelopes over and over. No need to throw them away; just cross the name out and write another one on it!
- Print only what you need. If you absolutely have to print something from the internet, print only the page(s) that you need. You can select which pages you want prior to printing.
- The above being said, you can also save webpages/articles/documents/receipts as PDF files. Any receipt I get is saved as a PDF and put in a folder on my computer called “Receipts”. To make a PDF from a document on an Apple computer, just go to print it like you normally do, but look for the “Save As PDF” selection instead of pressing “Print”.
- Reformat your documents to reduce the size of the margins. There is a movement afoot called “The Small-Margin Movement” which aims to get the standard margins in Word reduced from 1.25″ to .75″, resulting in about 1.14 trees saved for each ton of paper used for printing.
- Reduce the size of any images you have to print. Not only will it save paper, but it will also save you ink cartridges.
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