Did you know that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year? Or that an estimated 45% of all documents printed in offices end up tossed in the trash by the end of the day?
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that office paper products such as handouts, copy paper, and notebooks make up the largest percentage of landfill waste. Here are some tips on how to reduce paper waste in your office and create a more eco-friendly — and organized — work environment.
First things first: Recycle and shred.
To reduce paper waste, make sure you and everyone in your office know what is recyclable and where it goes. Ensure that important or private documents are being shredded, the paper is being recycled, and only true waste goes in the trash. Send your colleagues helpful charts they can reference if they need to, and post one at your designated recycling and waste center.
Although this tip may seem counter-productive at first, eliminating personal waste bins will cause employees to consider their trash more carefully. Having a clearly marked centralized waste and recycle center in your office will make individuals think about what they’re throwing away and where it goes rather than tossing everything under their desks.
Reduce paper waste by eliminating the number of paper notebooks you use. Designate one physical planner for quick notes and to-do lists if you find that pen and paper help you stay more organized, but consider eco-friendly options. Set task reminders on your computer or with helpful mobile apps to reduce the use of post-it notes.
Avoid over-printing unimportant materials by sending employees a pre-meeting outline and post-meeting recap via email. Need to collect some feedback? Create a shareable Google document that is accessible to everyone and able to be edited by all.
If you must physically print out documents for one reason or another, consider alternative paper materials, such as 100% recycled or post-consumer waste paper or tree-free fiber-crop and hemp-based paper.
Most banks and billing companies offer paperless billing options to make payment processes more manageable and eco-friendly. Eliminating paper bills that you would likely shred or recycle anyway will help organize your workspace and get rid of unnecessary paper waste.
Besides being a faster, more efficient way of getting a paycheck, direct deposit also eliminates paper pay stubs that end up shoved in closets, drawers, or physical filing cabinets. Give your employees access to their pay stubs and payment documents via online payroll solutions.
Instead of handing out several paper documents outlining company policy changes or employee handbooks, compile important information into a shared, accessible folder in a Google Drive and keep it updated.