Sure, we’re always telling you about how to store, scan, shred and otherwise handle the paper in your office, but one of the best ways to manage your paper documents is to simply have fewer of them to manage. In other words, reduce your use of paper.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t print something that will save you time or effort. But by simply being more conscious of how and when you use paper, you’ll quickly see how and when you can save it.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Think Before You Print
We can get into printing ‘routines’ that aren’t always necessary. Instead of automatically printing that report because it’s the way it’s always been done, think about if you can save and distribute it electronically instead.
1. Use the ‘Double-Sided’ Function of Your Printer
Most office printers will print on both sides of the sheet. If what you’re printout doesn’t need to be single-sided, you can save half the paper you use by printing on both sides.
2. Preview Documents Before You Print
Sometimes, due to spacing, your word processing software will add a blank page to the end of a document, or the last pages of a document are not really needed. Do a quick ‘print preview’ before printing to make sure you print only what needs to be printed.
3. Proofread On-Screen
How many times have you printed something only to quickly spot an error or a better way to present the information? Proofread the doc on-screen to save you from having to reprint it due to a simple change.
4. Keep Print Outs That can be Re-Used
Set up a tray near your printers to keep printed sheets that can be reused as note paper or for when you just want to do quick printouts that aren’t crucial.
5. Keep Your Mail Distribution Lists Up-to-Date
If you send regular mailings, regularly check your distribution lists for inactive or lapsed recipients so you aren’t sending printed materials unnecessarily.
Reduce, Reuse & Recycle: Remember, the first and best way to save paper, both to lower costs and be ‘greener’, is to reduce how much you use in the first place. And, for all the paper you do use, don’t forget the other two stages of conservation: reuse and recycle.