You can save money. You have help the environment. You can save a tree. Trees make oxygen, appropriate carbon, fix nitrogen, and distill water. They use solar energy as fuel and may produce complex sugars and food. Using less paper is good for your budget, the environment and you can save a tree! Here are 6 ways to decrease your paper use.
1. Use your Computer. It can save paper both at home and in the office. You can go paperless with your bills, pay a bill or set up automatic payments. There are advantages beyond saving paper – you can access your account at any time to track spending, see credit card charges in real time and monitor your accounts for misuse.
2. Ask if You need a Hard Copy. This is especially true for offices. An electronic document is easy to send, easy to edit and makes it possible for various employees to add their ideas to the document. You probably don’t need to print until you get to the final document – and you may not need to print then. At home, an email is immediate so you get to your recipient quicker. You can send birthday cards – complete with gift cards. You save paper and you save postage.
3. Stop Junk Mail. How much of the mail you get goes directly into the wastebasket or recycle bin? Many companies give you options to stop junk mail and if you can’t find it on your own, call and ask. For businesses, email is replacing the fax, but sometimes you need that hard copy. Keep your fax off to avoid junk faxes unless you know an important document is coming in.
4. Use Paper Right. If you’re at home and you’re making a shopping list, a half sheet (or a tablet) will probably get the job done. At the office, don’t be afraid to use both sides of the paper. Only use clean, full sheets when they are needed. A fax on the back of paper no longer needed may work fine. Ditto, for the copy machine.
5. Consider Electronic Storage. At home, you can scan several receipts together and file them in the folder. This works well if you’re getting bids as you can put all the related paperwork in a single file. At the office, you may want to use a company that offers high-speed scanning and/or document storage. You can have your documents scanned and placed on a secure cloud with them or delivered to you on an external or thumb drive. If you need to keep the paper, use their document storage. When you store your paper documents with a document company, they will catalog them and you can even set a date for when they are no longer needed the and the company will destroy on that date and recycle.
6. Buy Right. If it’s available, buy recycled paper to use. You’ll find cards and wrapping paper that is recycled. A smart buy.
Shredded paper is difficult to recycle. If you have an office, consider hiring a document destruction company. These companies can do it all. They provide locked bins for sensitive documents waiting for shredding. They can scan with high-speed scanners or store paper documents. Best of all, they recycle. Recycling shredded paper isn’t easy – many recyclers simply don’t find it profitable. A shredding company knows how to bale the shredded paper and make sure it gets used again.