One thing that is always constant in an office? Paperwork. Although most workplaces have moved to a more electronic way of working, it does not eliminate the use of paper; especially considering we need it for printing, writing, sketching, note-taking, invoicing, and so on.
With all this paperwork being used, it raises the questions as to whether or not your workplace is securely disposing and filing the necessary papers in a way that benefits the environment. Did you know, if every person in the UK recycled just 10% more paper it would save approximately 5 million trees each year?
With this in mind, there are ways you can reduce office paper waste and improve your own working environment whilst doing so.
Recycling Office Paper: Why and how should we do it?
Paper, as you know, is possibly the most popular material used in offices over the UK. Statistics show that the average office worker in the UK uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, making recycling an important factor to consider (if you haven’t already done so). Many of us are guilty of binning paper in a general waste disposal bin once we are done with it, and this is possibly due to lack of recycling measures put in place. Therefore, if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, why not start by improving your workplace’s recycling efforts?
To get started, it’s a good idea to invest in a couple of boxes that can be used to separate different paper. For example, you can label each box to show where each type of paper can be put. One box could be for standard white office paper, one box for coloured paper, and other for magazines or glossy paper. Of course, this all depends on the type of business you run with what type of boxes you decide to use.
If you are in a smaller office environment, you can consider just using one box for recycling, but put it in a spot where everyone can easily access it. That way you can create a routine for each member of staff, and once they are in the routine they will stick to it.
Additionally, to raise awareness in your workplace, it might be an idea to hold an awareness day or meeting which emphasises the importance of paper disposal and recycling. Holding a meeting like this will not only motivate your colleagues to recycle, but it will also reduce the use of paper usage in general.
Consider confidential documents
With the new GDPR legislation coming into effect this year, confidentiality and destruction of important documents is a huge priority for offices. It’s important to ensure any unnecessary data is destroyed before leaving your premises, and so the best way to do this is by shredding your documents. Shredding not only simplifies the data protection process for you, but it also saves time. Our large range of office shredders have features that can quickly shred a high volume of paper in seconds, which is incredibly helpful for those offices which have a lot of waste paper.
For those times that shredding a document is not needed, but specific information on a page needs hiding, it is advised to use handy gadgets such as a security roller or stamp. These products simply stamp or roll a block of black ink onto the page, effectively hiding the information.
Data protection plays a huge part in the modern-day workplace, so it’s important you take care of confidential paperwork in the correct way. One way to ensure full security of your paperwork is to put an additional part in place along with your recycling system. In other words, once you have your recycling system sorted (like explained earlier on), you can possibly assign a specific box for confidential and important information, and then delegate the job of shredding to a member of staff. If resource is an issue, perhaps set up a rota so that the task is shared on a daily or weekly basis.
Tips for reducing paper use and consumption
When it comes to reducing your paper consumption, it’s best to start by assessing where needless paper usage is at its highest. This can be from printing unnecessary emails, to scribbling on fresh pieces of paper. Cutting down on this over-usage of paper will definitely help the environment as well as save you money, and putting the following processes in place will help you along the way:
- Ask yourself if the document you’re about to print really needs printing.
- Use both sides of paper to print. If you are in the habit of just pressing the print button, usually the default setting is to print on one side of paper. Going forward, try and remember to change the settings to print double-sided. This will half your paper consumption in an instant.
- Use smaller fonts to fit more onto one sheet. The more you fit onto one sheet of paper, the less you will have to print.
- Simply re-use paper for notes and scribbles. If you need to quickly jot down a phone number or email address, use a piece of scrap paper rather than a fresh sheet of clean paper.
Not all workplaces can reduce paper waste as easily as others, and so it is about determining what can be reduced and where. By following the above tips, you can ensure all staff members are aware of the possibilities to recycle where possible, helping cut costs for your business as well as doing your bit for the environment.