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.
61 comments
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

JENNIFER9299
JENNIFER9299

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! 

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Robert98
Robert98

The golden rule of saving paper: Think twice if you really need to print – if it is necessary to print make sure you print on both sides (duplex). This is a really easy way to reduce paper consumption by half. 

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John7055
John7055

All those are the great consepts to save papers or sationary  in our daily routin life and it will help in deforestation and present enviorment .......go Green concept...

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amkumarnet
amkumarnet

Latest Recruitement Friend Checkout This Site For Latest Recruitment

Shuchi Sharma
Shuchi Sharma

I totally agree on the points mentioned above to save papers. This will not only save money, if fact will save our delicate environment by saving trees.

 

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ShitalBhalani
ShitalBhalani

Think before you print

 

1) It is simply too easy to push the print-button. For example, much paper is wasted byprinting out single line emails or printing out unnecessary copies of documents.

 

2) Departments should carefully assess their needs before ordering bulk print copies ofinformation materials, like annual reports or brochures. In many cases hundreds if notthousands of un-used copies end up in storage rooms clogging up storage space. http://proresult.in

suchagoraya
suchagoraya

wonderful idea man and seriously nowadays it truly is required to decrease the usage of paper not only to save papers but also to save environment from getting polluted as well.

 

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TimeEducation89
TimeEducation89

One of the main reasons I use (and waste) a lot of paper at work is when I am working on a document with others. I would print out the entire word, powerpoint, or pdf document, write comments on it, scan it, and email it back to my team to incorporate changes. We are working on an iPad app that will allow me to "print to tablet", make changes electronically on the iPad, save it or send it to the team via email, thus bypassing the need to print out anything. Read <strong><a href="http://www.newyearsms.co.in/">New Year SMS</a> , <a href="http://www.newyearwishes.co.in/">New Year Wishes</a> , <a href="http://christmasquotes.in/">Christmas Quotes</a> , <a href="http://www.newyeargreetings.in/">New Year Greetings</a></strong>

robert1991
robert1991

great concept man and seriously nowadays it is necessary to reduce the use of paper not only to save papers but also to save environment from being polluted as well..... 

 

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