5 Easy Ways to Save and Recycle Paper at the Workplace

Thinking that our offices are almost paperless today? Take a closer look again. We still print out important documents. We receive glossy, printed promotional brochures. And a whole lot of physical mail — with envelopes! That’s a lot of paper waiting to be reduced or re-purposed. With a little thought, effort and creativity, it’s fairly simple to do our bit to save a few trees.

Assess Your Print Load on a Daily Basis

Carry out the following exercise. For one week, track every single document you print, and critically consider what you can reduce. Think of electronic storage options for important documents. Back up files on hard drives, and use a remote storage service as well. Instead of printing out a whole sheet of paper for a single address, consider jotting it doom on a pad or keying it into your phone. Soon, you will find yourself doing this edit automatically, and having a greener office in the process.

Resize Documents to Save Paper — and Printer Ink

While wide margins and double-spacing make for a clean layout and a great professional impression, not all documents need to follow this rule. Much of the paperwork that we print out is for record purposes, like copies of mail, legal documentation and so on. A little tweaking of font sizes and margins can often fit a five page document into four pages in the economy format, or one and a half pages into one. It might take time in the beginning, but it can soon become a habit that saves a fair amount of paper and printer ink in the long run. For routine documents that need to be printed, perhaps a resizing template can even be put in place.

Reuse Printed Paper to Make Full Size Scribbling Pads

One-side paper is a term that has evolved to describe exactly that — paper which has printed matter on one side and is blank on the other. Most offices are likely to have several of these lying around — extra copies of printed documents, scribble pads where only one side has been used, old documents that are no longer relevant and requires to be shredded. A great way to use the blank sides of such assorted sheets of paper is to bind them together and re-purpose them into internal scribbling pads. Once the blank sides have also been used up, they can then be put into the shredder. Not only would you have saved paper, you would also have saved the cost of buying some new stationery!

Re-purpose Envelopes as Memo Pads

Plain, unbranded window envelopes can be reused as envelopes in cases where corporate branding is not required. Window envelopes which are branded with the sender’s name and logo can be stacked, neatly cut to size and bound with an attractive wrapper, or simply stapled together at the top to make handy memo pads for any kind of use. Leftover strips can also be trimmed and reused as flags to mark documents in files. Full envelopes that come with addresses typed on the envelope can be turned inside out and used similarly.

Make Creative Use of Old Calendars

Wall and desk calendars are useful when they are of the current year, but what can one do with them once the year is over How can one recycle something as limiting as a calendar? Actually, calendars can be reused in two ways. First of all, calendar pictures nowadays are works of art in themselves, and would look great in your cabin or on your wall if nicely framed or mounted. Second, the date pads provide a good supply of bright colourful numerals that can be used in many ways in the office —for numbering files, ledgers and other such items.

Practice the simple tips above, and you’ll soon find yourself thinking of more ways to reduce and reuse paper in your workplace. While saving paper is just one of the ways of going green, it’s a great place to start since the results are immediate, visible and satisfying. Plus, you save money too!