Prevention in Business

Paper, Paper Everywhere!

Using less paper is the easiest and most important step you can take to protect the environment, and it will usually save you money. Using less paper also means you'll have less to buy, store, file, or recycle after you've used it.

  • Use routing slips to share documents rather than copying them.
  • Copy and print on both sides of the page ("duplex"). Put a reminder sign by the copy machine.
  • Use email and voice mail.
  • Don't use fax cover sheets unless absolutely necessary.
  • Install software for paperless faxing via your modem.
  • Use your word processor's Spell Check and Print Preview functions to check spelling, layout, and page breaks before printing a job.
  • Design mailers which avoid the use of envelopes (fold and staple the paper).
  • Allow internal documents to be circulated with legible minor hand corrections rather than retyping drafts.

Reuse is using something again, the way it was intended to be used the first time around. Reuse can reduce both waste generation and disposal rates.

  • Collect paper that has been used on one side and reuse as draft paper or scratch pads.
  • Use outdated letterhead for in-house memos.
  • Purchase mugs with your company logo on them for employees to use rather than paper cups.
  • Set aside an area where you can store reusable shipping items such as boxes, packing peanuts, and bubble wrap.
  • Ask vendors to take back packaging. In some cases, they may be able to reuse it.
  • Donate reusable items you no longer need to non-profit groups or schools.

Recycling your paper is an easy way to conserve energy, save landfill space and reduce your disposal cost. Call your local solid waste hauler to find out about their business recycling program.

  • Buy paper that you can recycle. Avoid goldenrod, neon and dark colors that may not be recyclable in your area.
  • Make recycling easy for staff and patrons. Provide recycling bins that fit on or under a desk.
  • Place clearly labeled recycle bins near copiers, printers, and shipping and recieving areas. Make recycling easier than throwing it away!
  • Monitor recycling bins for contaminants on a regular basis. Post reminders of "do's and don'ts" when needed.
  • Print directly on envelopes rather than using labels.

The success of a waste reduction, reuse and recycling program hinges on the participation and support of employees, managers, and even customers. It involves rethinking the way we do things and changing old habits. This is not easy, but the rewards abound as resources and money are saved!