10 Facts About Paper in the American Office

Everyone laughs about it. “I’m being buried under an avalanche of paper.” It’s all too true. Here are 10 facts about the use of paper in American offices.

1. How Much? Just one employee – a single person – who is an office worker in American willuse as many as 10,000 sheets of copy paper in a year. That’s more than 27 sheets a day – including weekends and holidays.

2. The Round File Cabinet. Each year, there’s more than a trillion sheets of paper – worldwide – that are trashed. In an office, 45% of the paper used in a day is thrown away before that day is over.

3. Print It – or not. American companies spend over $120 billion – that’s billion with a “b” – printing forms. Most of those forms are outdated in 3 months.

4. I Know It’s Here Somewhere. If you’re a typical employee, you’re spending about 30% or more of your time looking for information in an emails or a file cabinet. Wow! What is that costing your business?

5. Copy That. The average document is copied over 9 times. After all, we like to share!

6. The Keeper Of The Cabinets. For every 12 filing cabinets you need an additional employee to maintain the files.

7. Think Of It In Square Feet. Every filing cabinet takes up about 9 square feet and holds as many as 12,000 documents.

8. Every 12 Seconds…a document is lost. Every misfiled document costs about $125 before it is found and used again. If that document is actually lost the cost goes up to $350 or more.

9. You Depend On It. It is estimated that as many as 70% of companies could not survive a catastrophic loss of their paper records in a fire or flood.

10. It’s Growing. Paper use continues to grow and could double in as little as 3.3 years.

The statistics above were compiled by the Paperless Project using figures from the Forest Ethics organization, Environmental Paper Network and the World Resources Institute. They break down pretty easily. Use less. Recycle and shred. Take advantage of storage options. Train your employees to use electronic means instead of hardcopies whenever possible. Use both sides of a piece of paper. Consider hiring an on-site document shredding company that offers document scanning and secure, organized document filing. You’ll get all that paper out of the office and will probably be able to access it faster than if it was in your own filing cabinet. When you’ve finished with a piece of paper, recycle it. You have to take care of the documents that are sensitive more carefully. Don’t put them in that blue bin and risk identity theft. The on-site shredding company will provide locked bins to keep them safe and then destroy them with on-site shredding that takes place before your eyes. They’ll also make sure that the shredded paper is recycled. An on-site shredding company is your partner in making all your paper manageable.

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