Tomorrow – April 22nd 2017 - is Earth Day, a day on which awareness of environmental and climate literacy, climate change, and the threats of it, are being pushed. Headed by the Earth Day Network and launched nearly 50 years ago in 1970, the organisation aims to ‘diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide’, as their website reads.

Reducing waste is a way to contribute positively to the environment, and so assessing the amount of paper used and wasted in your office is a chance for you to do your bit for this year’s Earth Day.

A typical office will have endless notepads, post-it notes and paperwork scattered about; there’s no doubt that paper is a useful resource in the workplace. While going paperless seems impossible when you look at all the paper scattered around you at your desk, it’s easier than you think.

The easiest way to cut paper-use is to go tech-savvy and switch to online paperwork. Use data storage models like iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive to write, edit, send and store files. Not only does this reduce desk clutter, online files are able to be shared with loads of employees without the use of paper and photocopies.

You could even use PDF files to allow for electronic signatures to cut paper-use even further. Accessible in one place and generally easy to navigate, data storage is a great option to go for to reduce paper use, or go completely paperless.

For presentations, mind-mapping and meetings, say goodbye to flipcharts of paper and opt for whiteboards, whiteboard walls, or digital interactive screens. Not only will digital presentation or functional paints look more professional, innovative and impressive than scribbles onto a wobbly, beige sheet of A1 paper, you’re cutting down your paper-use and waste.

A reason why many use paper documents at work is to cross-reference when working on a computer. Instead, provide multi-screen set-ups to view a digital file alongside the task at hand, eliminating the need for a physical copy.

Reduce the amount of printers in the office too; if everyone has a personal printer on their desk, they’re likely to print unnecessarily. If there are one or two communal printers, the queues or journey to fetch the document may deter them from printing and using valuable paper.

For paper you can’t avoid using – because some simply prefer the traditional pen-and-paper set-up – go for eco-friendly options. Recycled paper isn’t expensive and can be of great standard, and when using it, encourage employees to write/print on both sides to half usage. And of course, recycle it again instead of throwing it into a general waste bin – have a fully-established recycling station in the office to make this easy and part of routine.

While it seems like a mass-mission to go paperless in the office, taking the easy steps to reduce the amount of desk clutter and ugly filing cabinets can effectively cut paper waste. What better time to make the paperless move than now – Earth Day?

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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