Inefficiency – The results of the information age is to fuel an unrelenting demand for paper. Paper usage tripled in the last 30 years and is expected to continue to grow 10% annually.
Pulp and paper production is the second largest user of energy and water of U.S. manufacturing and third largest contributor to pollution. Of the 10 Million tons of paper used annually by business.
- 80 Billion kilowatts or equivalent of 8 Million homes
- 25 Million tons of green house gas or equivalent of the annual exhaust from 4.4 Million cars
- 130 Billion gallons of water or equivalent annual water needs of 1.7 Million Americans
Opportunity - Recycling is now at 50%, which is good. Most paper is made from wood waste products, from sustainable sources and recycled materials. Decreasing paper use will realize the biggest impact by saving on the costs of manufacturing paper. For example, if printing were reduced by just 10% annually then save:
- 10 Million kilowatts
- 2.5 Million tons of green house gas
- 13 Billion gallons of water
- Measure baseline paper consumption and publish periodic results of paper conservation.
- Set-up printers to default to double sided.
- Print multiple pages per sheet.
- Educate employees on paper efficiency. Reinforce message, for example – Place “think green” reminders in email and at copiers and printers.
- For large documents that are still published widely, switch to electronic. Publish postcards to guide users to new electronic site. To improve the user experience with electronic edition compared to paper, provide robust search, ability to print by page and download capabilities.
- Encourage paperless meetings by bringing laptops or projecting materials.
- Acquire products to eliminate blank pages and banners when printing.
- Switch to internet fax service. 142 Billion sheets of paper are used in faxing annually.
- Request electronic materials from suppliers.
- When you must use paper, select recycled paper. Using recycled paper saves 40% of the energy for manufacturing compared to paper made from virgin sources. Recycled paper is on par with virgin paper including quality and price. Other attributes to consider are that paper is chlorine-free and is recyclable.
- When printing projects, use soy-based inks that are easier to remove when recylcing than petroleum based inks, are a renewable resource that does much less harm to the environment. Soy ink is mainstream with 95% of newspapers and 25% of commercial printers utilizing soy ink. Encourage printer and copier technology suppliers to leverage soy toner.
- Request that vendors use recycled paper as well.
- Consider paper from alternative sources such as cotton, agricultural by-products and other natural sources.
- Make it easy for employees to recycle paper. Paper can be recycled up to 12 times and high grade office paper can be made it to almost any other paper product.
- Paper statistics
- Conservatree - General site for background and sources for environmental papers
- Facts about Recycled Paper.
- Soy based inks has the potential to green the toner industry.
- Paper Calculator allows an organization to compare the environmental impacts of different paper choices across the entire life cycle of five major grades of paper.
- GreenPrint is one product that eliminates unwanted pages such as the lone URL, banner ad, legal disclaimer
- Internet Fax is a tool to eliminate traditional fax as reported in Fast Company.
- List of green paper sources for office and copier
- List of sources for tree-free paper
- A leader of corporate environment responsibility that includes soy based ink cartridges, energy savings and product recycling is Riso of Japan.
- How to Set Up a Recycling Program Recycle on the Go US EPA