5 Ways to Use Less Paper (and Save Money) Around the Office

Reducing or eliminating paper at the office has so many potential business benefits that it’s hard to believe companies of every size still consume so much of it. According to CNN, American workers print, copy, and fax trillions of sheets of paper per year. When you consider the other pulp products — sticky notes, notepads, envelopes, pamphlets, business cards, calendars, paychecks, and legal documents — that routinely cross our desks, we really do use an inordinate amount of paper.

By minimizing our paper trails (if not going entirely paperless), small business owners can lower expenses, increase productivity, enhance customer service, free up storage space, and enable people to work remotely. Here are five ways to curtail paper consumption in your office:

1) Forget fax machines – Send documents as email attachments and receive traditional fax transmissions in digital form on your computer. “All you need is an Internet connection,” Tom Walker says on SaveDelete.com, where he’s compiled a list of the ten best free online fax services. Need to put your John Hancock on some form or another? No problem. Mark Shead, the business-management consultant behind Productivity501.com, explains how to sign documents digitally.

2) Shun sticky notes – Although they seem like a clever substitute for a whole sheet of paper, the adhesive on the back means that sometimes sticky notes can’t be recycled. “I walk into so many offices and see the desk covered in a sea of sticky notes that it almost makes me cry,” tech journalist Dave Johnson confesses on BNET. “For $50, you can bolt a dry erase board to the wall beside your desk and actually organize all those little notes you’re sticking to every flat surface in the room.”

3) Avoid printing“Most of us print emails, documents, and all just because we have access to a printer,” notes Anurag Bansal, founder of the technology blog Knowliz.com. “Emails are supposed to be read onscreen. Why do you need a printed version?” Print documents only when necessary and always preview a file first to avoid errors and reprinting, he suggests. (You’ll not only save paper, but ink cartridges and maintenance, too.) Another option: To grab online information, print or save web pages as PDFs.

4) Collaborate online – Enable teamwork to happen virtually, without passing around paper notes, master files, or schedules. “If your small business is just getting started with online collaboration, the free version of Google Apps is an excellent place to dive in,” Zack Stern writes for PC World. “It includes email with a large amount of free storage, sharable calendars, document editing, and other tools.” For other options, check out Computerworld’s review of 20 more free or low-cost collaboration tools.

5) Eschew checks – Save paper and postage by paying everyone electronically. If you’re a sole proprietor, sign up for online banking, paperless credit-card statements, and an e-payment service like PayPal. File your taxes electronically. If you’re running a larger operation, use an online tax and payroll service such as Intuit’s. On the flip side, request electronic payments (including direct deposit to your bank) from your clients.

For more tips on going paperless, download this free guide, “Less Paper vs. Going Paperless: A Pain-Free Implementation Strategy.”

About Rebecca Smith Hurd

Rebecca Smith Hurd is a veteran freelance writer and editor who, like you, runs her own small business. A savvy sole proprietor, Hurd is always on the lookout for new ways to make her operation smarter, greener, and more profitable.Follow Intuit’s sustainability efforts on Twitter (@intuitgreen)!
This entry was posted in Sustainability, Trends and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.
100 comments
sarkaripatrika
sarkaripatrika

yup man this is really nice concept to save money plus save environment. You may use every part of paper and not west it. you may also used recycled paper it may be cheep in cost and also good for environment. http://www.sarkaripatrika.com/




keratin
keratin

Its very useful tips and we should understand that we have to use less paper great tips

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SanayaIrani
SanayaIrani

Cloud communications are great for storing data and moving it away from the office but so are document management facilities. Moving the paper to a secure facility is loads better than hoarding old records plus much safer.

A totally paperless office is still a bit far away, but there’ve been many breakthroughs in areas such e-invoicing.

LarryPage
LarryPage

If there is no paper then where can we print our outputs? We know that paper is from trees but printing something requires paper. If you will use an hp toner cartridge to print then you will need paper. Unless of course there is an alternative plan to produce paper?

happyupdates
happyupdates

it an awesome post. It is very useful for spreading awareness among the people of the world. Recycle is the best option for decreasing global warming. Results Recruitment

Buddyzap
Buddyzap

In today's world of technology and understanding requirement, there is necessity to use ePaper to save the environment for upcoming generation as well as to save the money.  

http://www.buddyzap.com

allindiajobnews
allindiajobnews

it an awesome post. It is very useful for spreadinf awareness among the people of the world. Recycle is the best option for decreasing global warming.

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Todayzen
Todayzen

Great Article. Actually I was looking for such things which can save papers. In my office people make excessive use of paper. I will let them know about your article. http://todayzen.com

AnjaliJoshi
AnjaliJoshi

hi, Excellent tips! I especially like the “Proofread Before You Print” idea. So many times people proofread after printing only to find that they have to fix spelling, grammar, etc. and print again. What a waste. Here’s another tip … read content out load (from the computer’s screen, of course). It’s amazing how you can “hear” errors that your eyes miss. Thanks for a wonderful post! www.aeeree.net


Nensi
Nensi

It’s amazing how you can “hear” errors that your eyes miss. Thanks for a wonderful post!

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Uhadit
Uhadit

Well said, saving the environment and its resource should be given priority by everyone for a good future tomorrow. http://www.citypincode.in



ShreyaChoudhary
ShreyaChoudhary

Thanks, Gil! Double-sided printing is actually another excellent word of advice for using fewer paper — if you’re using 100% recycled linens, that’s even greener.

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yessiralph001
yessiralph001

yup man this is really nice concept to save money plus save environment. You may use every part of paper and not west it. you may also used recycled paper it may be cheep in cost and also good for environment.  http://xeado.net

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