How to Reduce Paper-Related Waste at Your Small Business
Use these eight tips to start making a positive impact on the environment during the work day.
8 Ways that Business Owners Can Reduce Paper-Related Waste
1. Switch from Snail Mail to Email
If you frequently send snail mail to partners and customers, consider sending emails instead. Many customers will appreciate getting messages in their inbox rather than the mailbox, and your company will drastically reduce the amount of paper coming in and out of the office.
2. Use a Digital Invoicing System
In addition to communicating through email, you can start sending invoices and receiving payments online. There are many online tools designed to help you send invoices, receive payments, and keep track of finances digitally. These are just a few options to get you started:
3. Convert Your Filing System
Many offices have multiple filing cabinets, filled with paper folders and files. Instead, we suggest utilizing a digital filing system to make your office more efficient and environmentally friendly. Start by scanning old files and organizing them using filing software or cloud-based storage. Then, you can reduce paper documents going forward by using PDF files and emails that can easily be added to your digital storage system.
4. Use Digital Notes
Is your desk covered in scraps of paper? Like using digital filing systems instead of paper, you can organize your workspace while reducing paper waste by swapping paper notes for digital alternatives. One simple way to get started is using free desktop sticky notes. Smart notebooks take it a step further, allowing you to handwrite notes that are connected to an app on your phone or computer.
5. Remind Employees to Think Before They Print
In the world of recycling, the golden rule is to think before you print. According to the Think Before Printing campaign, 50 percent of printed pages are never even looked at. Reminding employees to think before printing can prevent wasting paper on things like unnecessary copies and papers requiring signatures. Those can all be sent, saved, and signed digitally.
6. Use Double Sided Pages
When you have documents that need to be printed, be mindful of how much paper is being used. Set your printer preferences to automatically print on both sides; you’ll use half as much paper and reduce messy paper piles on your desk. In addition to double sided printing, you can also make text smaller, increase margins, and avoid images to save space when printing.
7. Recycle as Much as Possible
Inevitably, there will be some paper waste in any office. Even after reducing the number of pages you’re printing and the amount of mail you’re sending, you’ll most likely still be receiving packages, magazines, and junk mail. Recycle it! Use this guide to find out how paper waste can be recycled.
8. Purchase Recycled Paper
While you’re thinking about recycling your office’s paper waste, make sure that any paper you’re bringing into the office is recycled as well. Using recycled paper saves trees, energy, and water. Typically, recycled options are available at major office supply stores, so switching won’t require any extra effort.
Small Steps Make a Big Difference
As a business owner, you’ll need to decide how your office can take steps toward being more environmentally friendly. Using these tips is a great way to get started by reducing paper waste and encouraging employees to be thoughtful with paper usage.
Do you have more recycling tips to share with small business owners? Share them in the comments below!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.