10 Ways To Reduce Paper Use In Your Home Or Office.

March 6, 2008 10 Comments

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. Think before you print. Check your document once, check it twice. No use in printing something just to find a typo right after printing!
  5. 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?
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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”.
  9. 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.
  10. Reduce the size of any images you have to print. Not only will it save paper, but it will also save you ink cartridges.

So, did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

Filed in: Recycling

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (10)

  1. Allie says:

    These are great tips!

  2. Stephen says:

    Thanks dude, good tips.

  3. C Duran says:

    Great tips! I especially love the saving to PDF tip because not only does it reduce paper use, it also eliminates the need for room to file all those papers.

  4. China @ Crossroads says:

    Thanks to a virus in our router, we found what ws probably the most effective way to reduce our printing. Remove the ability to print from everyone and have a dedicated terminal for printing.

    The simple fact is that the time it takes to transfer the file to a USB chip, walk over to the terminal, and then print saved about 80%.

    r
    http://www.china-crossroads.com

  5. jam says:

    I would be pretty ticked off if you put crosscut shredded paper in a box to me. That stuff makes a mess and static electricity would make it cling to whatever was packed with it Use old newspapers instead…

  6. ike says:

    Discuss Befriely how the use of computer can reduce the amount of papers used in an office, do you think that a paperless office is a real possibility.

    please someone help me out

  7. Josh says:

    Those are fabulous tips to save paper. From our research, we found that millions of trees are cut down just to create billions of unwanted paper catalogs – there are alarming stats on forestethics.org website. Something had to be done to reduce this waste of natural resources.

    Websites like http://www.catalogchoice.org allow people to reduce the amount of unsolicited paper catalogs in the mail. That’s brilliant! But we thought that the paper catalogers are not gonna stop sending mails that easily unless they have an alternative way of marketing their products.

    And what if that alternative is eco-friendly as well as really low cost compared to the cost of printing and posting 1000s of paper catalogs. So after several months of effort we came up with http://www.ecatalogcreator.com.

    eCatalog Creator is a digital publishing service that converts paper catalogs to eco-friendly online flash catalogs. It has been a few months now and we have had hundreds of conversion requests already.

    Glad that we are doing our bit to reduce our carbon footprint and helping others to do the same.

  8. John says:

    I think a paperless office is quite possible. You’d just have to be organized and keep all notes and files easily accessable. That way you could find everything you need quickly and unless you need to sign a document, paper is not that necessary.

  9. Duncan says:

    I would have to add a number #11 to that list – use technology where possible.

    A huge amount of paper is wasted every day when there are alternatives available. However, these tend to be quite difficult to use and put barriers in the way.

  10. amelia says:

    When i had to print out images for school i used to use the same sheet of paper. If the images are small-to medium just flip the paper over so that it prints on the un used sides, so that you only use 1 sheet for multiple images and save paper.

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