World Paper Free Day: Top tips to reduce paper waste

In an increasingly digital world, it may surprise many that paper still dominates the office environment. Almost four billion trees are cut down each year to supply 300 million tonnes of paper.

However, only one in five companies has a board-level endorsed policy to actually reduce paper use. Trees aside, saving paper also saves other valuable resources used to make paper, such as water and oil.

To tackle the paper waste pandemic, AIIM has designated today, 6 November, as World Paper Free Day.

AIIM director of market intelligence Doug Miles said: “We’ve calculated (using the paper industry’s own data) that if the whole world gave up paper for just one day, we could save around 821,918 tons of paper – and 11 million beautiful trees. So, we want it to. We want the world to go paper free for 24 hours”.

And in that spirit, edie has rounded up the best advice to help you reduce paper use in your office.

Six steps for paper-saving

1) Use tablets for meeting agendas and supporting documents – 60% of organisations that contributed to the AIIM’s new ‘Paper Wars 2014’ study stated that the main reason for printing paper copies of documents was for use in meetings.

2) Use Outlook calendars and apps such as Evernote to reduce ‘to-do’ notes and lists.

3) Fit more words onto each page. Simply changing the default margins from 1.25″ to 1″ can reduce the amount of paper you use by up to 8%. Use a space-efficient font like Times New Roman.

4) Set computers to print double-sided. The international bank Citigroup found it could save $700,000 each year if employees printed on both sides of the page.

5) Track the personal printing footprint in your office. Create systems that allow staff to measure how many print copies they are personally responsible for each month. Most people are shocked to find out their individual cumulative number of copies. 

6) Know exactly what you do and do not need paper for – 45% of respondents believed they still needed physical signatures on certain documents.

Shocking paper facts (supplied by

– More than one in five (21%) organisations are still increasing their paper consumption

– 10 litres of water are needed to make one piece of A4 paper.

– Recycling one ton of paper saves around 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 litres of water and 17 trees.

– 50% of businesses waste is composed of paper.

– To print a Sunday edition of the New York Times requires 75,000 trees.

– Every tree produces enough oxygen for three people to breathe.

Brad Allen

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