Introducing our guest blog post from Tracey Rawling Church, who is the Head of CSR at Kyocera:
Let’s face it the paperless office is a myth. The dawning of the digital age didn’t do away with our need for paper – instead, in the first ten years of the internet, paper consumption more than doubled. The ease with which we can access all kinds of information online is exceeded only by our keenness to commit it all to paper. But it needn’t be that way. Just by paying a little attention to our working habits, we can cut paper consumption and at the same time cut cost out of our businesses. So here are ten top tips to start you off:
1. Never print something just to read it once – even if you put it in the recycling tray after. Recycling only reduces the consumption of trees, it takes just as much energy, water and oil to manufacture recycled paper as it does virgin paper – and it uses more bleach.
2. Always use the “print preview” function to ensure a document looks right before printing. That way you can avoid the need to reprint it when you discover that spelling mistake.
3. Reduce the size of the text (or images, or margins) rather than letting just a few lines run on to an additional page. Especially if the additional page has an odd number. See tip 4.
4. Always print double-sided – it can almost halve your paper consumption, which also reduces your paper costs (and sometimes postage costs, if you still use snail mail).
5. For internal documents, consider printing several sheets to a page – called “n-up” printing, this is ideal for documents you need to carry with you for reference as it reduces your load as well as your paper consumption.
6. Only print the page(s) you need, not the entire document. This is especially true of emails (which should arguably never be printed at all, but if they are don’t necessarily need the whole exchange of messages dating back to the dawn of the internet, each with their “think before you print” message).
7. If you’re printing multiple copies of a document, proof-read one copy before printing the rest – this is an extension of tip 2, but becomes exponentially more important when multiple copies are needed.
8. Only print the number of copies you actually need – better to have to nip out of the meeting and photocopy one more set rather than take in several more than you actually need “just in case”.
9. Except where it’s a legal requirement, do away with file copies. Keeping a hard copy on file is not just a waste of paper, it’s a space-hog. With office rents the way they are nobody needs to pay for the space the filing cabinets occupy. Scan and archive digitally – and ever print something just to put it in a file.
10. Always turn off your printer at the end of the day. According to the Carbon Trust, this single act can reduce the energy it consumes by 70% and save around £65 a year. Even in sleep mode, devices consume energy. Switched right off is always the most sustainable setting.