Even in our electronically-focused world, the average office still produces a surprising amount of paper waste. Not only does this decrease your office’s efficiency, but it can also increase the amount of money you spend on paper products that you otherwise wouldn’t need. How can you reduce the amount of paper your office throws away?

How much paper does your office throw out every day? Here’s how to reduce your paper waste and save yourself some money in the process. #PlatinumCopiers #gogreen Click To Tweet

Using Less Paper

Paper waste encompasses more than the obvious problem of inefficiently used printer paper. Everything from disposable coffee cups to fast food bags contributes to your office’s paper trash. Consequently, using less paper involves forming a list of new habits. These ideas can get you on the right track:

  1. Fill up sheets of printer paper
  2. Recycle
  3. Reduce physical mail
  4. Save important documents digitally
  5. Replace paper towel dispensers with air dryers
  6. Use fewer disposable dishes

1) Fill Up Sheets of Printer Paper

To start, simply make better use of the printer paper you already have. Whenever possible, print double-sided or expand the margins to allow more content. Official documents may still require standard formatting, but less important papers can be altered to print more efficiently.

2) Recycle

This one should go without saying. But even beyond hauling your paper waste to a recycling facility, you can repurpose plenty of paper goods in the office. For instance, reuse an envelope by placing a new mailing label over the old one. Rather than throwing away shredded documents, use the shredded paper to package fragile items. Get creative–there’s no shortage of ways to reuse paper!

3) Reduce Physical Mail

How much mail does your office receive or send out? Physical mail still matters, so you can’t completely eliminate it. However, you can certainly reduce the amount of mail you send and receive. Unsubscribe to junk mail or, for essential newsletters, see if you can switch to email instead. Stick to electronic communications such as email or digital text messages whenever possible to reduce your mail output.

Pro Tip: Electronically stored documents and information can be more easily altered or destroyed than physical ones. As you try to cut down your paper usage, keep multiple backup files of your electronic information for higher security.

4) Save Important Documents Digitally

Not every document has to be printed. To share information with employees or coworkers, consider emailing a PDF or sharing a Google Doc rather than printing multiple physical copies to hand out. As for documents that must be available long-term, such as employee handbooks, a similar strategy works just fine. Share the digital document with new employees rather than printing a new one every time you hire someone. This also allows you to make any changes or updates much more easily.

5) Replace Paper Towel Dispensers with Air Dryers

It’s probably not the first place you think of when you take stock of your office’s paper consumption, but paper gets thrown out in the bathroom too. Paper towels are still a staple in many office restrooms. While the debate of whether paper towels or air dryers are superior still continues, one fact neither side can deny is that an air dryer generates less waste. No paper towels end up in the trash. Making the switch will further reduce the amount of paper your office throws out.

6) Use Fewer Disposable Dishes

Paper plates, disposable coffee cups, and similar products build up in the recycling bin with time. Don’t completely outlaw eating in the office–that’s a recipe for problems! Instead, consider keeping a set of cups, dishes, and silverware in the office for employees to use and wash afterward. Alternatively, encourage them to bring their own dishware. Either approach helps prevent lunchtime from contributing to your paper waste.

Encouraging Waste Reduction in Your Office

Your office will always produce some degree of paper waste–that much is inevitable. However, a few good habits can significantly reduce the amount of paper you throw away. Every recycled bit of paper makes your business that much greener!

Join the conversation to see how other business owners reduced their paper waste.