Stop. Using. Paper. (Or how to go paperless)
Paper production is one of the most environmentally damaging processes in the world today. It contributes to deforestation, huge water usage/pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Knowing this, if you could stop using paper right now, would you?
That may not be convincing enough, I understand that. Perhaps some actual facts and figures might help.
- There are 420,000,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard produced each year
- That equates to:
- 7,140,000,000 trees cut down per year
- 2,940,000,000,000 gallons of fresh water used each year
- approximately 36,000,000,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere each year
- 1 tonne of paper equates to about 400 reams of 80gsm A4 copier paper
Now think about how much paper your business uses in a day. Think about what you print on your desktop printers and/or multi-function devices. Invoices, credit notes, delivery notes, sales orders, reports, emails – is there a chance you could be using a ream of paper a day, or close to it? It’s more likely than you first think.
That’s about a tonne of paper a year, which means you are responsible for:
- 17 trees cut down
- 85 tonnes of CO2 emissions
- 7,000 gallons of fresh water used
Each and every year just through paper usage within your business.
That’s the environmental cost. What about the financial cost to your business?
A box of five reams of A4 80gsm copier paper at the time of writing costs between £20 and £30 on average. At 400 reams a year, that’s 80 boxes at an annual cost of £2,000, give or take. Throw in the cost of ink and/or toner that could rise to between £3,000 and £5,000 depending on your devices. Oh yeah…there’s the cost of leasing/buying and running your actual printers too!
Then there’s the cost of storage space – because you’ve got to keep all that paper somewhere, right? A couple of filing cabinets take up quite a bit of space, so work that out in square metres against your office premises costs.
Finally, how much time do you think you and your staff spend filing and retrieving paper documents each year? About 75 hours on average. 75 hours of lost time that costs your business.
I hope you see where I’m going with this – paper usage has a massive environmental, financial and operational impact and it’s one few of us give a second thought to.
It’s a necessity of business, right? Wrong.
We’re living in an advanced technoclogical age where “going paperless” is no longer just a buzz word, it’s an achievable reality. An environmentally friendly reality. A financially beneficial reality.
By implementing a cloud-based document management system like DocuWare you can completely eliminate the need to print anything ever again. No need to buy paper or ink. No need to run printers or MFDs. You can eliminate time wasted searching for paper documents.
You can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of fresh water and 85 tonnes of CO2 emissions – every year.
You get to, quite rightly, feel very good about yourself and make your business feel that little bit richer.
Ok – I’m well aware that some businesses aren’t in a position to completely give up paper and some businesses not willing to embrace going completely paperless (at least not yet). So what can you guys do?
- Identify areas of the business where printing is NOT a necessity (they will exist!) and implement a document management solution there to begin with
- Recycle – recycling paper works. Every tonne of recycled paper helps to achieve the savings outlined above – yet 55% of global paper supply still comes from newly cut trees
- Sign up for tree planting schemes offered by your suppliers – Keeley Travis offer a “plant while you print” option with our managed print service, planting one tree for every 8,000 pages you print (effectively going environmentally neutral in terms of trees cut down)
Whatever you can do to reduce your paper usage will be beneficial to the environment and your bottom line. What are you waiting for?