'Trigger happy printing' wasting tonnes of paper

Office workers are creating a mountain of waste paper by printing out documents they don't need.

Envirowise, a body set up by Government to advise business on its environmental performance, says that half of office workers it asked openly admit to wastefully printing documents and that the dream of a paperless office is still a long way off.

Up to 120 billion pages are printed out in the UK's offices every year, with a significant share of these going straight in the bin due to what Envirowise calls 'trigger happy' printing.

"Unnecessary printing of emails, multiple copies, single-sided printing and the sending of massive documents to the printer which are unlikely to be read, are just some of the regular scenarios lived out by businesses every day as a result of 'accidental printing'," said Mary Leonard, Envirowise director.

"Most offices will find they can reduce waste costs by around 20% through simple no or low cost actions.

"Measures such as double sided or multiple page printing and recycling instead of paying for disposal can really help."

According to Envirowise advisors, paper has become one of the biggest waste challenges facing UK offices with around half of all office waste being paper-based.

As it stands, 4.7 million tonnes of paper and cardboard is entering the waste stream each year in the UK.

Businesses interested in finding out what they can do to make a difference to their business and the environment can download Envirowise's free Green Officiency Toolkit or call the organisation's advice line on 0800 585794.

David Gibbs



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