Living sustainably is an absolute necessity nowadays as we’re plowing through resources at a faster rate than ever before and soon, they’ll all be finished. If you ask the average citizen, they don’t think that they’re contributing enough of an impact on the global resources and would easily point their finger to the corporations or big companies.
While corporations or companies use resources at a faster rate, the real effect to the environment comes from our little actions. Something, like leaving the tap on while you’re brushing your teeth or leaving the fan on when it’s not in use, can accumulate to have an astronomical effect on the environment.
If the papers used by the average American were piled vertically, they would form a 100 feet long tower annually. Paper wastage is a huge issue in itself as 5 Trees, 19,000 gallons of water, and 390 gallons are used to make just one ton of the paper. Now Imagine that figure and multiply it by 600,000. 600,000 tons of paper is used just for supermarket receipts. America alone used 90 million tons of paper every year. That number is simply not acceptable anymore.
If you feel insignificant, know that you probably contribute to this figure. But here’s the thing, imagine the astronomical effect your contribution has on the environment. Now imagine how much good you can do as well, and how it can be a part of something huge. Today we’ll discuss a few of the small, greenways you can help reduce paper waste and do your part in saving the planet:
Use The Internet
12.1 trillion Sheets of paper are used by American offices every year. A massive chunk of this paper Is used for in-office communication and back up data. The practice of communication of sending paper reminders and notices is old and simply inefficient. Why on earth would anyone use an office circular anymore? Sending a quick message through an IM service, a centralized office communication system, not only is it faster and efficient, you’ll be saving HEAPS of paper.
Stop Taking Receipts
All businesses need to keep all receipts but this also applies to individuals. As an individual when have you really used a receipt when you bought something from the store?
Maybe for a more expensive purchase, you need the receipt to return the product when it’s defective or for when you file your tax return but do you really need physical evidence of a purchase of a pack of potato chips?
Think of what you do when you accept a receipt, you carry it around maybe in the shopping bag but you’ll eventually throw it away! Now think of all the receipts you go through in a month and how they’re piling up, contributing to waste. As we mentioned, the amount of paper produced just for recipients is 600,000 tons.
Do your part, as little as it may be!
Purchase Recycled Paper
Take part in the in an already established movement purchase recycled paper, whether it’s for your home or work. Some workplaces such as law firms need to go through the paper as a necessity, that doesn’t mean they can’t go through recycled paper! Plus, a paper recycles receptacle can be bought and placed around the office for convenience. Paper can be printed on both sides to reduce wastage as well.
Choose Digital Alternatives
You can opt-out of your banks sending you physical copies of records of statements by having them send you digital ones instead. You can do this for any service you use and can implement it in your own workspace. A physically printed report is just an assurance, make it a point to your bosses to have it in soft form.
If you’re a student and if you’re going to be spending the money anyway, purchase the soft form of your coursebook. You’ll be working on your laptop anyway and it’s extremely convenient to have a soft version of your book, which makes looking up problems 10 times easier.
Your utility bills too can be opted to be paid digitally.
This, of course, is a no-brainer. Re-use paper and make sure to throw the paper away in dedicated recycle bins for it to be taken to recycling plants. Use a reusable travel mug for your daily morning coffee and for the coffee or tea you have at work.
Americans use 23 billion paper cups yearly. It’s quite staggering how just coffee drives so much paper waste. For grocery shopping, use reusable bags instead of brown bags. Reusable bags are pretty big and can carry almost all of your groceries with ease.
Think Before You Print!
This is a very important golden rule in the world of recycling. Do you really need that document, paper printed? Does that message, that will only be printed once, really need to be printed?
In the office, printing as seen as a means of convenience as printing a document will save time rather than sharing it another way. When in reality, you’ll actually end up spending thousands on paper and paper waste. Using something like Google Docs, an extremely convenient file sharing method will make it easier to communicate with one another.
Only print documents that are extremely important, like a final submission or a big presentation. Even then you can use a projector for your big presentation!
Back-Up Your Physical Data
For important physical data, it’s a good practice to scan documents to back them up digitally anyway. You don’t even need a scanner, there are several apps on the App Store and Play Store that exist that can scan any paper document like any scanner. And for any new incoming data, back them up digitally before they need to be printed at all or not. You can even then prevent the information from being printed at all.
The planet is going through its resources at a faster rate than ever before. Doing whatever we can to help shouldn’t be considered little at all. Every step you take helps in saving the planet for future generations. Saving paper, water, electricity, and other resources will help preserve our earth for a brighter tomorrow!
Thank you for taking some time to read this article. Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments in the section below.