Paper Waste In The Office
Let’s talk about paper waste in the office environment. It’s a typical workday. You receive a file of some sort in an email, open it, scan the first page and hit print. Only when you head over to the printer do you realize that the file was 20 pages long. Turns out you only the first three pages were really needed. The other 17 pages are quickly tossed into the recycling bin. You take the needed three into your meeting.
During the meeting, you realize that everyone else needed a copy of those first three pages. You should have printed the 20 pages correctly the first time. It would have taken the same amount of time and resources. This is a common occurrence for many businesses, and while it may not be an issue that defines the company, whether or not to print can have a greater affect than you might expect. This is a problems and we should probably find ways to reduce paper waste in the office. So, the next time your mouse hovers over the print button, ask yourself these questions:
Paper waste is an important topic and the future of the printing industry relies on less paper waste in the office and other environments. This is because we aren’t going to stop printing paper soon.
How long will you need it?
Are you or others going to read and study this document? If so, for how long? If the document is only needed for 20 minutes or less, you probably don’t need to hit print because again you will just be contributing to paper waste in the office. But if you or somebody else will be using the document for more than 20 minutes, it might be nice to have a portable copy to study. Print it out!
How many people will view it?
Ask yourself: Will several people view this document, or only a handful? Will there be any editing involved? How complex is the information included? More people viewing a document generally means more revision. So the more people viewing a document, and the more complex and detailed it is, the greater the need to print print print! It is far easier for a large group of people to absorb detailed information and give feedback when they are processing the information in physical, rather than digital, form. But if the information will be viewed by only a few, and there won’t be complex information or editing involved, keep it digital. Use formats like PDF.
Why do other people need to see it?
Is this information intended to persuade or encourage others to make a decision? Is this a serious topic that needs to be dealt with quickly? Or is this a long term item of discussion that will be periodically reviewed? Asking these questions will help put the document into context, allowing you to make the best decision about whether or not to print.
By asking these questions before printing, you will become part of a conscious effort to reduce paper waste and decrease the use of valuable resources. You will also begin improving the communication within your business. For a more in-depth approach to these questions check out this infographic.
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