Challenge #29 ~ Paper-less?

Read the blog post on the September Theme – TECHNOLOGY

Photo by Christa Dodoo on Unsplash

Imagine a storeroom full of file cabinets full of paper documents being saved for legal requirements or historical purposes. Now imagine removing them, and storing the documents digitally. What would happen? In addition to saving paper and the resources used to print new documents, precious office space is now available and tedious hours spent by staff to organize and keep track of these documents are freed up for more meaningful work. In one office, when these file cabinets were removed, the floor actually bowed up as it was relieved of the weight of those documents and metal cabinets.

We don’t really think about receiving bank statements, investment documents, and billing invoices by mail in Qatar because digital commerce has been widely embraced here. We’re lucky. Better service is more easily provided with electronic documents that one can access anytime, not worrying about losing them or finding them when needed. Offices that move from mailing paper documents to providing them electronically are able to slash budgets and reassign staff to more important work.

So with so many electronic ways to store and view material, it’s easy to go paperless, right? But as individuals, do we need to bother? See the Technology blog for some surprising data about paper. And by going paperless (or using less paper) we not only save paper, but toner/ink, cartridges, printers, and the resources required to manufacture and utilize them.

While we will probably always need printed materials for some things, we can strive for less paper, even if that doesn’t take us all the way to no paper.

Get started with these tips

  • Before printing something, we need to ask ourselves if we really need to. 
    • Is it my final copy? Check once more on the computer to make sure there are no errors before printing something when a physical copy is needed. 
    • Can I read it another way? Instead of printing that web page or document, save it as a PDF and read it on a phone, tablet, eReader, or computer
    • Can I store it electronically? Instead of filing documents in a paper filing cabinet, make an electronic copy and file it in one of the many free or low cost cloud storage services. It will be available anytime, anywhere.
  • Sometimes we really do need to print something. We can do so with less environmental impact.
    • Print double-sided to cut paper use in half.
    • Use smaller fonts and narrower margins to get more on a page.
    • Use printer paper with a high recycled content
    • When printing handouts, don’t print more than is needed and consider making them available electronically instead.
    • Recycle discarded paper.

Challenge #29 supports Sustainable Development Goals 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and 13: Climate Action

You, too, can help the environment, one piece of paper at a time.

Resources

The Peninsula Qatar, Support growing for reducing paper waste, 15 Apr 2019