Rainforest Aided by Reduced Office Paper Waste
Very few would argue that saving our Earth’s rainforests isn’t a worthy cause.
They may know that one out of every four ingredients in modern medicine is derived from rainforests and that it’s estimated we’re losing nearly 140 plant and animal species daily due to deforestation. (That’s 50,000 species a year!)
However, many feel hindered by geography. The rainforests are so far away – what could I possibly do?
Here’s a start: your office.
April 22 is Earth Day, and Rainforest Maker Founder Jeffrey Glassman is urging office workers to consider taking the following measures to reduce office paper waste – which ultimately helps to curb the deforestation of one of our most precious resources.
Office paper is a sub-category of the paper industry's “printing and writing” category, which also includes books, junk mail, brochures and similar products.
According to the National Solid Wastes Management Association, the U.S. has increased our office paper use by 4.5 million tons – or 300 percent – since 1960. On an encouraging note, this production has decreased by about 1.5 million tons over the last six years with the advent of personal computers. What’s more, the recycling of office paper has spiked by 4.1 million tons since 1960.
But there is still much more we can do.
The National Resources Defenses Council offers the following tips to reduce office paper waste in the workplace.
- Whenever possible, use electronic communication rather than faxes or paper.
- Don’t print your e-mail messages, and put a signature line on your outgoing e-mails that says, “Don’t print this e-mail unless it’s necessary.”
- Make it a point to reuse whatever you can. In your fax machine, load paper that’s already been printed on one side. Try to get multiple uses out of over-sized envelops and re-use draft paper in your printer.
- Consider reducing the number of printers in the office if you can manage it. And when you do need to replace your printing and copying units, purchase brands that are able to print on both sides.
- If it’s possible, make it so that you can fit more information on a single page by programming your standard office font to be smaller.
- If you regularly work on drafts, use electronic editing features, rather than printing it out and editing from the page.
- Reduce the number of subscriptions or mailings that your company receives. Ask if it’s possible for companies to send you electronic mailings instead.
- In the office kitchen, stock reusable cups, mugs and bowls. Invest in cloth napkins or buy paper towels that have been recycled.
- Encourage employees to use tap water, rather than bottled water.
- Have recycle bins centrally located at each work station.
Making these practices part of your corporate culture can go a long way in reducing rainforest destruction.