Friday, August 8, 2008

Conserve: Paper

Did you know that the average American uses 749 pounds of paper a year? That's a lot of paper. I don't know about you, but when I read that number it made me want to work hard to make my number much smaller. So what can you do to make your usage number smaller? Here are a bunch of good tips that I've found.
  1. Go paperless when you can
    • I already have been receiving paperless statements from my credit card companies. I've also heard that there are lots of banks that are now offering paperless accounts.
    • Pay your bills online. Not only will you be saving paper, you'll save money on checks and postage.
    • Instead of printing off your receipts online, consider downloading a Cute PDF writer that will take a screen shot of your computer and put it into a PDF file for you to keep forever, sans paper.
  2. Recycle it when you're done
    • This is a no brainer for you all, but I felt it was worth reiterating (need to know where to take your paper? Check out this post on recycling).
  3. Make the most of what you have
    • When you are printing things that aren't that important, think about printing them on the back of paper that has already been printed on. This is how I used to print off my notes for my college classes.
    • You can also set your printer to print on both sides of the paper.
  4. Consider using paper made from materials other than trees
    • The Kenaf plant is gaining popularity for being a fast growing crop (versus trees that can take 70 years to mature).
    • You can get it from Vision Paper. Talk to your employer to see if maybe you can switch from plain old recycled paper to awesome new tree-free paper.
  5. Just avoid it
    • When you give a presentation at work, keep it in Power Point and only print off hard copies for the people who really need them (like your boss). Offer to email it to anyone who wants a copy.
    • Send emails instead of paper memos (but I don't think it's wise to skip sending that birthday card to your niece).
    • Before you hit the print button think about if you really need a hard copy. Can it be saved as a PDF instead?
    • Or you can follow in the footsteps of one intrepid artist and stop using paper altogether.
Keep in mind that these ideas can be applied in the office and at home. Now, go forth greenies, and save a tree (or plant a tree if you are feeling really Earth friendly).

I got my information from the NY Times,, and

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