Are You Being “Green” With Your Paper Usage? #WPFD

Author: Richard Shaw
Posted: November 2, 2015

We recently published an interactive piece of content which focused on really capturing the huge burden of paper businesses face in the UK and making as vivid as possible. The content illustrated the astonishing scale of our excessive paper consumption, with research showing that a typical business needs somewhere around 130 filing cabinets in order to store its documents, which take up almost 6000m2 of office space.

The cost implications to businesses are high, both in terms of monetary value and business efficiency, but what many people fail to consider is the cost to the environment.

The Tree to Paper Ratio

A single tree produces 80,500 sheets of paper. Our data shows that a typical business would fill its filing cabinets with approximately 1.3 million pieces of paper. This works out as 16 trees per office.

When placed in context, it is a bleak illustration of how business and the environment go hand in hand, and of the negative effect that careless practice can have on the world around you.

The Wider Issue

Whilst it would be careless to suggest that high volumes of paper usage is the sole contributor to deforestation, it is hard to deny the importance of the role that it plays. National Geographic report that although forests still cover about 30% of the world’s land area, swaths the size of Panama are lost every year. Much of the world’s deforestation is through the need for farming, or urban development, but businesses should consider their corporate responsibility to the Earth.

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The charge of deforestation is unlikely to abate in recent years, but the responsibility is on the shoulders of business to set the example to prevent the issue from continuing to grow.

Best Practices

Businesses should look to re-examine their practices for paper usage in the offices.

  • Use email or electronic documents where possible, instead of printing paper mail.
  • Move documents around a USB device, encourage people to bring USB devices to meetings.
  • Share documents using cloud-based services and encourage colleagues to do the same.
  • Only add phone and email details to business cards, this forces people to use such mediums to contact you.

There are a number of other key practices that you can employ to reduce your paper usage and carbon footprint. Businesses should consider going paperless or “paperlite” as a long-term solution to ensure that they have a responsible and cost-effective approach to reducing paper usage on a daily basis.

World Paper Free Day #WPFD

November 6th is World Paper Free Day, so why not take the opportunity to make your first step to being more responsible with your paper usage? You can find more details about World Paper Free Day here.