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Office Paper Waste - The Shocking Facts

Rachel Tilley Author: Rachel Tilley

Despite the increased awareness around the importance of recycling and the impact the lack of care can have on our environment, office paper waste is still a huge issue, and it's a problem many organisations can do something about. 

Paper accounts for around 26% of the total waste at landfill sites.

I don't know about you, but I hate waste in any form!  I hate it when my kids leave the tap running too long, when I see people throwing out clothes that could go to charity, or when there's paper and plastic in the bin that could be recycled!

Here Are Some Shocking Facts About Paper Waste!

By 2025, experts predice that there will be
  • 50% of the of a businesses waste is made up of paper
  • Experts predict that by 2025 there will be 2.3 trillion pages printed
  • From 2001 to 2019, a total of 386 million hectares of forest were lost globally which represents close to a 10 % decrease in tree cover since 2000
  • Every tree produces enough oxygen for three people to breathe
  • Pulp and paper is the 3rd largest industrial polluter of air, water and soil
  • When paper rots, it emits methane gas which is 25 times more toxic than CO2.

    Move On From Paper Processes

6 Ways Office Paper Waste Can Be Reduced

If you're like me and you'd like to do more in your office to reduce paper waste then here are some tips to get you started.

1. Reduce Printing

Think before you print - do you really need the information to be on paper? Stop printing emails or scanned documents.  Save and view them digitally with document management software.  A document management system can securely store all business documents including emails, invoices, policies, drawings, photos, contracts etc.  

Once stored, they're easily and quickly accessible to all users with authorised access. They can't be lost on a desk or damaged like paper can.

Process Optimisation 6

2. Automate Tasks

Once paper is removed, process optimisation improvements can begin by automating tasks.  With a digital system, repetitive administration tasks such as data entry are replaced with automatic data capture.  Information can then be pushed into any third party software as required and easily accessed across the organisation.

With business process automation, there is no longer be a need to print and store information, reducing waste further.

3. Reuse Paper

If you do need to print you can still reduce office paper waste (although as document management specialists, we always try to steer clients away from printing) by using both sides of the paper. 

Alternatively, make a note book out of used paper and write on the other side.

£22,000 Saved With A Paperless System

4. Buy Recycled Paper

After a quick Google search, many of the big players in office supplies sell recycled printing paper.  I actually found some recycled paper cheaper than non-recycled for the same number of sheets! No brainer right?!

One of DocTech's clients, The Woodland Trust sells recycled printing paper that's sustainably produced and every sheet sold directly contributes directly to their work.

5. Email Invoices

Paper use 2_cropped

Encourage suppliers to send invoices via email, it's surprising how many prospects I speak with who still receive emails through the post.  Paper invoices have to be physically stored for six years, either taking up room in your office or in costly off site storage.  

After this they have to be destroyed costing more money and creating more waste! With digitally stored documents, you can just hit the delete button!  With a secure system that has rules in place documents will automatically be deleted after a set period.

6. Remove Individual Bins

Removing bins from each persons desk and having a central location for paper recycling encourages people to recycle paper rather than throw it away. 

Envelopes, carboard, magazines and paper lunch packaging can all be recycled.  Go one step further and recycle cans and plastic bottles too!

The Cost of Office Paper Waste

Paper waste isn't only bad for the environment but it's bad for the books too! Wasted paper is wasted money.  Yes a sheet of paper may only be a few pence, but spread that daily waste out across the business and it adds up!

Reduced filing cabinets

And as we've mentioned already, if your organisation is printing documents they have to be physically stored.  This means you'll end up paying for storage and / or shredding. 

Reducing paper is the first step we help our clients with when working on process optimisation projects.  If your organisation wants to reduce office paper waste then please get in touch now and understand the savings and the improvements we will make.

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