How to Reduce Paper Waste at Work

May 21, 2015 - 3:21 pm

Did you know the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year? Between all the paperwork, it’s not hard to imagine the tons of paper we use each day at work. However, while some of it is necessary, there are still lots of ways to reduce our usage. Learn more below about how you can save paper (and money) by just rethinking a few small, everyday habits.

1. Reduce What  You Print

It can be tempting to print things out for your records, especially if you’re used to paper filing systems. Consider moving to an electronic storage system instead. If you think about it, there are probably very few things that you truly need a hard copy of. Here are a couple of ideas to help you get started:

  • When you edit a document, do so electronically instead of printing it out and writing on it. You can track changes in Word, and you can add comments to PDF files. Not only does this save paper, but it can also make it easier for the people you’re working with to understand your comments.
  • If you want to keep a copy of a document that is online or on a server, you can bookmark it in your browser or create a shortcut on your desktop.

2. Rethink How  You Print

Sometimes we just can’t get around it; we have to print that document. There are a few easy ways to minimize your waste:

  • Change your default settings so that you always print on both sides.
  • To reduce your page count, make your margins narrower than the standard one inch and use a font that is as small as is comfortable to read. You can change your default settings in Word so that you don’t have to remember to do this each time.
  • Start a scrap box with old papers that only have print on one side. When you need to print something for your own notes and not for distributing to others, mark through the old content and print on the other side. Of course, don’t save any sensitive documents for reuse; those still need to be properly discarded.

3. Reuse and Recycle Note Paper

Another big source of paper waste in the office is notepads. Consider the following note-taking tips:

  • Use the back of scrap paper, instead of new notebooks, for notes when you can.
  • Always use both sides of the paper.
  • Buy notepads that are made from recycled paper.

There are many other ways you can reduce your paper waste at work. Challenge yourself to be mindful of your habits every day this week and try to think of more ways you can waste less.

Remember, rethinking small habits can add up to a big impact!