Environment Protection: Tips And Suggestions For Eliminating Paper Waste

Ideas on how to save trees and get rid of clutter by reducing paper waste at home and at the office.

Remember the paperless office? With computers and email, we were supposed to eliminate the need for so much paper, but this hasn't been the case. Instead, we still print out too much paper that's just going to be tossed into the trash or shredder anyway. We're all guilty of wasting paper.We use a large sheet of notepaper on which to write a phone number, or print out copies of amusing jokes and cartoons for our co-workers. We print out several drafts of many documents before being happy with the final results. This is not good for the environment. If we want to keep our forests filled we trees, we have to do our part in eliminating paper waste. It's really not as difficult or hopeless as it may sound.

Keep dry erase or chalkboards next to the home telephone to eliminate the need for note paper and small pads for message taking. The person for whom the message is intended can write the phone number in his phone book if it's a number he'll be using more than two or three times. Otherwise, the message can be erased once it's received. Use another message board for leaving notes for family members. Keep these in a central location such as the kitchen.

Proofread documents using your computer screen instead of printouts. Sure, it's easier to read and edit using a hard copy, but this just wastes paper. If you must print out a hard copy, turn it over and use the paper again when you're done.Use this for message taking, note taking in meetings, math calculations and anything else requiring bits of scrap paper to help get you through the day.

See if your company will adopt a policy allowing for minor hand-written corrections rather than to print out pages over again because of small mistakes.

Use voice mail instead of sticky paper to leave notes for co-workers.

Set up printers and copy machines to print double-sided documents. This ensures that a piece of paper will be used in its entirety before it's thrown in the trash bin.

Set up recycle bins for the home and office. Once a piece of paper is used in its entirety, it can be recycled.

Instead of printing out office memos and other documents, send them via email. They can be saved on the recipient's hard drive for easy reference later instead of adding to desk clutter and bulky files. If a memo must be printed, print one copy to post in a central location, such as the office bulletin board, rather than a copy for each person on your list.

Do your banking online and notify your utility company of this change. They can either send your bill to your email address or you can receive them without envelopes or remittance forms. You can also call many utility companies and tell them you don't want to receive the advertisements and flyers that come with the bills. Some companies will omit them by request. If enough people protest about all the paper being wasted because of the junk mail coming with our utility bills, we may be able to cut out the practice of sending these wasteful items through the mail.

Subscribe to your newspapers and magazines online. This not only saves the printer from having to print up your copy, but it saves your house from clutter as well.

Print only the pages you need. If you received a 30-page document via email, but only page 23 is relevant, print out only page 23.

Print envelopes without labels. Not only will you save money on the cost of mailing labels, but you'll eliminate the waste associated with those labels as well.

Ask businesses to remove your name from their mailing lists if you're receiving unwanted catalogs and junk mail.

Use towels, rags, sponges and cloths for clean up instead of paper towels.Use linen napkins instead of paper and do your best to avoid the use of paper plates and cups.

Eliminating paper waste isn't a challenging task. In fact, once a ritual is established, it's bound to make your life easier and clutter free. Better yet, it saves our trees for something they're better suited for - beautifying our environment.

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