January 12, 2007

5 Things You Can Do to Reduce Paper Use

Remember the golden promise of the paperless office? Computers were supposed to reduce the amount of paper we had to push everyday, resulting in a clean, uncluttered and unpolluted life. Ha. According to a 2001 report, "Global production in the pulp, paper and publishing sector is expected to increase by 77%" by 2020. And this matters greatly because the pulp and paper industry is the third largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

As a graphic designer and a writer, I may be one of the worst perpetrators of this increase. No matter how much I recycle, it won't make up for how much I consume. I read books, magazines, newspapers. My office overflows with paper files, records, receipts and notepads. So what's a paper-addict to do? The following steps are easy to implement and can help reduce your pulp addiction:

  1. Use recycled paper!
    Quality recycled paper is now easily available. It's affordable, and looks and feels nearly as good as virgin paper. Most consumers can't even tell the difference. You can buy recycled boxes, loose leaf paper and notebooks, file folders, invitations and so on.

  2. Don't just throw it out—reuse it.
    I have a file folder of scrap paper next to my printer—inkjet paper I've printed stuff on one side of that I no longer need. When I just have to have something printed on paper for my business records (receipts, for example), I print it on the backside of this scrap.

  3. Cancel your magazine and newspaper subscriptions.
    This isn't always feasible, but most major magazines and newspapers publish their content online. You can usually subscribe to these online publications via feed (like the one on our site in the upper right corner).

  4. Get a library card.
    Seriously—public libraries are an essential part of our communities. Support them by forgoing that trip to Barnes and Noble (which eats pulp like it's candy and has huge a huge freight impact on our environment), and instead checking out a book from your local library. They even take requests in case you want to read the latest best seller.

  5. Cancel those catalogs.
    If you get tons of catalogs from companies you never buy from, call 'em up and cancel them.

I'll admit—it feels slightly sacriligious for me to recommend boycotting bookstores. I am an analog girl at heart. I love the feel, the experience, of reading a book and feeling the pages between my fingers. But we've got to start somewhere. We've got to pick and choose. At the very least, we've got to start thinking long and hard about the cost of our paper addiction.

What other ideas do you have for reducing paper consumption? Clearly we need industry reform (here are some statistics), but what about on an individual level?

Labels: , ,

2 Comment(s)

Anonymous Webomatica said...

Good suggestions ... I'd also add paying bills online. Most utilities provide this service and since you get an email when your next bill is up, the likelihood of being late is reduced - just login to the site and pay it!

11:31 AM  
Blogger Jessie Jane said...

Oh, definitely. I knew I would miss some obvious ones!


3:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home