How to keep office paper to a minimum

The ‘paperless office’ was a dream of the late 20th century, when the promise of the digital era seemed like it could eliminate the need for hardcopies of just about everything.

While email is undoubtedly a gamechanging technology, it hasn’t completely removed the need to communicate on paper, and printer jams are as much a part of office life in 2018 as they were in 1998.

If anything, near-instant laser printing and wireless networked printers have made it more tempting than ever to ‘run off a hardcopy’ when it might not be strictly necessary.

All of this costs money in paper, toner and secure recycling services – so what can you do to cut down on all of those running costs?

1. Thinner sheets

The A4 printer paper found in most offices is around 80 gsm – that’s grams per square metre, a measure of the weight and, therefore, the thickness of the paper. You might have heavier paper, say around 120 gsm, for formal correspondence with premium clients.

But why use these weights for internal drafts and memos? You can get 60 gsm paper that will work just fine in most printers and for hand-written notes – although it may ‘bleed’ slightly with wet inks, but that’s no big deal for internal paperwork, and you’re saving 25% by weight with every sheet you use.

2. Use both sides

Paper has two sides, and by using both you can directly halve the number of sheets you need instantly, with almost zero effort.

Modern printers sometimes even have an auto duplex option that will feed the paper back through and print on the reverse automatically, so make sure this is switched on if possible.

3. Save it for scrap

Even if you can’t auto duplex when printing, you can save old print-outs and use the blank reverse side for handwritten notes, assuming there’s no major security concern with what’s on the printed side.

This has an added benefit – it cuts down on the number of reporters’ pads and spiral-bound notepads you get through, which can save even more money than just cutting down on loose leaf paper.

4. Throw it away flat

One way to keep your recycling bins emptier for longer, even without reducing the amount of paper you use, is to throw it away flat instead of scrunching it into a ball.

Office paper recycling bins often have a narrow slot to encourage leaving the sheets flat, while hiding the bin’s contents so there’s no associated security risk – whereas screwed-up balls trap air inside and between them, making much less efficient use of the space between bin collections.

5. Go paperless

That 20th century dream isn’t dead just yet. Why not make it your ambition for 2018 to use the absolute minimum amount of paper possible?

Avoid printing emails unnecessarily; avoid handouts when a digital slideshow will do the job in training sessions; encourage suppliers and clients to liaise digitally rather than in writing.

Identify any unique reasons why your business in particular uses paper, and think of solutions to overcome this; you’ll save on resources, keep your office free from strewn screwed-up sheets, and cut costs too.

What difference do energy saving products actually make?

Energy saving products sometimes suffer from poor public perception. It can be hard to look beyond the higher upfront cost of some eco-friendly products, while others may feel forced upon you, such as the ban on incandescent light bulbs or high-powered vacuum cleaners.

But the point that many people miss is that these are not just old second-rate technologies being forced into our homes; they are genuine innovations that mean we can get the same or better results with a fraction of the energy consumption.

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Top tips for an eco New Year’s resolution

We could all help the environment by making a new year’s resolution to reduce, reuse and recycle more, in order to minimise the amount of waste we each send to landfill.

But what are the best new year’s resolutions you can make for an eco-friendly 2018? Here are some of our top tips for an eco new year’s resolution, which might help inspire you to come up with some ideas of your own too.

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What to recycle after Christmas is over

Christmas can seem like a distant dream for most of the year, but once December arrives, the festive season soon comes and goes, leaving those of us who played host to clean up the mess it leaves behind.

While many households are becoming more conscious of reducing the waste packaging they produce and using more eco-friendly wrapping papers and decorations, there’s usually still a small mountain of waste to deal with.

So what can be recycled – and how easily?

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Kitchen renovations: tips for a more economical cooking space

Homeowners everywhere dream of stamping their personality on their home, and while kitchen renovations can be ambitious, they can also have the biggest effect, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth to get the job done.

These are just some of the ways you can complete kitchen renovations on a budget, without compromising too much on the finished product – and how you can even save money over the long term.

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Restaurant food recycling: how it works

Restaurant food recycling helps businesses in the foodservice industry to manage their waste more carefully – and crucially means that organic waste that could still be used does not get sent to rot in a landfill site.

A general restaurant food recycling scheme might mean small food caddies around the kitchen for vegetable peelings and so on, a large bin lined with a biodegradable bag to empty them into, another one for leftovers from the dining room, and a hygienic lidded skip outside for the full bags to go into for collection.

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