Paper products are used all the time in our society, which means more trees are being cut down to keep up with that demand. Americans use 85,000,000 tons of paper a year, about 680 pounds per person. The trees needed to produce this paper live off the carbon dioxide in the air we breathe. As their numbers are depleted, more carbon dioxide will remain in the oxygen we breathe.
There are many ways to cut back on paper both at home and at work. Keep reading to find some helpful tips to reduce your paper usage.
Stop receiving junk mail
If you get a ton of junk mail each week, it can become a chore to weed through it all. Go online and sign up to opt-out of receiving it that way. The paper waste in your home will be reduced by approximately 1/3 without you doing much about it. You can do this for free in the UK by registering with the Mail Preference Service.
Sign up for paperless billing
Find out which of your accounts you can get an online statement for. This way, you further reduce the amount of paper that comes your way. Log on each month and find out what you owe, and check over your statements. If necessary, print what information you need instead of the entire statement. Bill and bank statements can also be downloaded to your hard drive or cloud storage as a PDF so you can access them for years to come. Some organisations also discount customers who opt not to receive paper statements/bills through the post.
You can also pay bills online, which will save paper in the areas of cheques and envelopes. It only takes a few minutes to set up such accounts, and then you can do the process each month. If you don’t want to mess with that each month, then have the bills taken directly out of your current account by setting up a Direct Debit or a Standing Order. This is so convenient and a terrific benefit that you will undoubtedly want to take advantage of.
Change buying habits
Try to buy notebooks, greeting cards, and other products that you see have been produced from recycled paper. You can even use napkins and paper towels made from recycled materials. Using recycled materials helps to save a large amount of wood, and you contribute to fewer greenhouse gases that speed up the process of global warming. Keeping dishcloths and towels in your kitchen is often a great saver for paper towels as they can be easily washed and re-used.
Magazines and books can both be read using online devices such as Ipads and Kindles. E-readers will also take up less room in your house and your books will always be saved and easily accessible from your device. This is also an excellent space saver when travelling as you can carry thousands of books on your device.
In the office
Encourage everyone at your office to cut back on their use of paper where they can. It would help if you talked to your boss about implementing some practical ideas. For example, there can be a pile of waste paper that everyone can use for various needs—using scrap paper to take down phone messages and other correspondence that doesn’t have to look professional.
With reports, make sure information is printed on both sides of the paper. It will still look very professional and cut the amount of paper used for the process in half. It is essential to double-check the information you plan to print first, so you don’t view it, see a mistake, and then have to print it again.