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Tips for reducing office paper waste
Use both sides
Use the front and back of a piece of paper and cut your paper use and costs in half.
- Set computer defaults to print double-sided.
- Make double-sided copies when possible.
- Give it a second chance: Use paper printed on only one side in your fax machine, for draft copies or internal documents, or as scratch paper.
Think before you print or copy
Sometimes it is necessary for documents to be printed. Print responsibly.
- Preview documents before printing. Use the print preview to spot formatting errors and blank pages before you print. Proofread first, and use the spell/grammar tool to help avoid errors that can cause documents to be reprinted.
- Print only the pages you need. If only a few pages of the document are needed, print only those pages instead of the whole report. Most software programs provide this option under the print function.
- Promote a “think before you copy” attitude. Consider sharing some documents with co-workers. Print only the number of copies needed for the meeting, don’t make extras.
- Route memos and newsletters that employees should see, but do not need to keep. That way newsletters and other documents can be shared rather than copied.
- Use revision features in word processing software. You can edit documents on screen instead of printing out drafts and making hand-written comments.
- Send information electronically. Use e-mails instead of fax or mailed letters when possible. It’s faster.
- Fit more words onto each page (e.g., smaller font, narrower margins). Simply changing the default margins from 1.25” to 1” can reduce the amount of paper you use by up to 8%. Use a space-efficient font like Times New Roman.
- Create an electronic filing system for quick, easy retrieval.
Keep forms and lists up-to-date
- Reduce unwanted mail. Much of the marketing mail that your office receives is discarded immediately, and you foot the bill for recycling or disposal, not to mention the time it takes to sort and deliver mail. Cut down on the amount of unwanted mail by keeping your employees’ names off of mail lists to begin with.
- Eliminate unnecessary forms. Sometimes documents become obsolete and are no longer needed. If forms are still needed consider making them electronic.
Close the loop on recycling
- Recycle office paper. If your office doesn’t recycle yet, start a recycling office paper program. It can save your organization money.
- Buy recycled-content paper, preferably made from paper pulp recycled without the use of chlorine.
Be nice to your copier…
and your copier will be nice to you. Keep copiers and printers in good repair and make it policy to only buy copiers and printers that make reliable double-sided copies. Let your copier maintenance person know when a copier is performing poorly (toner is low, jams frequently, etc.). Regular copier maintenance is important, especially if the toner is low. Copiers are often used until all the toner is gone and that wears down machines. A copier that works well is less likely to jam and this helps save paper!
Think about that 10-page, single-sided report you’re dropping in the mail. You need an extra stamp, don’t you? Take that same report and send it double-sided. Now you’ve cut your paper cost in half, and you don’t need to pay the extra postage.