Ever think about making greener decisions on paper use at the office? Of course you have! You can do your part toward promoting a greener office in a cost effective manner and with ease. Some believe a paperless office is the best solution to many company issues, cost included. That’s not always the case. For example, paper is still very critical to business in terms of delivering presentations, tutorials and other learning tools, printing customer documents that need original signatures and sensitive communication with employees, suppliers, vendors and other stakeholders.
However, when focusing on both the need for paper and environmental responsibility, a number of considerations come to mind, including choosing the right paper products for your business and how they are deployed.
Great Choices Abound
There’s a wide choice of paper products available to help you move closer to becoming a greener office. Yes, recycled paper can cost more, but doesn’t always. In addition, there are many ways to use paper more effectively, such as two –sided printing, where appropriate. In fact, there are a number of products that can help you create and sustain a greener office.
With paper, you need to be able to understand the value of recycling and what you can realistically accomplish with the right paper products.
One of the easiest ways to make sure that your paper will help you work toward a greener office is to check for what’s known as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Particularly when it comes to copy paper, which most businesses use by the ream for everyday printing, FSC certification means that the paper is sourced from well-managed forests with accountable supply chains. FSC-certified paper comes in as wide a variety of formats as any other copy paper so it's easy to start doing right by greener office standards with no adverse impact on your printers, copiers or other devices used in the office.
Greener Office With Recycling
The end-to-end process of recycling is a great way to start becoming more savvy about paper trails toward a greener office. As with FSC certified copy paper, recycled paper comes in the same format as regular sheets, so you can use it right from the packet without any change to your office setup. The price difference is generally marginal. In combination with a solid recycling policy for used paper, including shredding to protect sensitive information, you can easily demonstrate the commitment you and your team have made to the environment and sustainability. You may even want to communicate a “policy” of sorts to let everyone know the value of paper in a greener office environment and suggestions for two-sided printing, recycling and more, so everyone is on the same page and understands this commitment.
Greener choices and getting staff on board both make a big impact. Setting office copiers and printers to automatically print double-sided unless someone overrides the settings can help you use paper more wisely. It's important that the paper you choose is heavy enough to prevent bleed through and that the toner settings on your machines are set to help prevent bleed through.
Another good practice is to make sure you print only enough copies needed for a meeting or presentation, and if more are needed, make them after the meeting or presentation or send those electronically. Some office printers have a secure print feature, which requires a person to print his or her documents using a pre-selected code so paper isn’t lying around the printer loosely and wasted.
Other Paper Products
While printing is what paper is most used for in the office, there are some clever ways to deploy unused paper as well. If you do print on only one side of the paper in your office, consider using waste sheets and no-longer-needed, non-confidential reports as scrap paper by halving the sheets and stapling into small booklets with the blank sides up. This makes for a great on the fly notebook and use for the paper.
By encouraging the team to use both sides of the paper whenever feasible and appropriate, and recycling used pages, you’ll help create a culture of environmental awareness. Even envelopes are available in recycled form, but only those without cellophane windows can be recycled effectively after use.
And last, but certainly not least, you can maximize the benefit from your overall supplies by choosing products carefully to create and sustain a greener office and business.
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