Get Help With Cutting Down on Paper and CostsSeptember 26, 2012
Paper is a big deal to me. Having spent my career in government, from high school and college at the local and federal levels, through my professional career in California state government and five large agencies, I’ve pushed a lot of paper myself and had the satisfaction of being part of our Attorney General’s Office shift to electronic storage of documents and our Green Office campaign to reduce unnecessary printing and promote two-sided printing for drafts and final documents whenever possible. I focus on paper, because when we save paper, we are saving our organizations money and we are conserving our natural resources.
The United States consumes 50% more paper per capita than Western Europe and more per capita than any other country or about 73,000 sheets of copy paper per person every year. Just a 10% reduction in paper usage would be the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for a year. It’s possible. The Washington State Office of the Attorney General lowered their paper consumption by 20%, and the Bank of America by 32%. In addition to the direct savings, they saved in toner and ink, filing cabinets, floor space, postage and time.
In the early days of our sustainability initiative, I had a steep learning curve to acquire the information and tools we needed to support and advance our goals. GreenWorksGov embodies all the knowledge we gained and continues to build on new studies, information, and trends. Part of this involves remaining connected to key organizations who are leaders in their fields of expertise. One of these is the Environmental Paper Network (EPN).
EPN’s website has very practical and useful resources to help an office purchase paper that meets certified standards of environmentally responsible paper, including a link to a listing of papers available in North America. Their fact sheets explain how recycled paper is sourced and manufactured. I found the fact sheet about how to increase paper efficiency to practically make the business case for green teams.
EPN has lined up a Speakers Bureau. What a way to attract interest to your paper reduction program by having one of EPN’s experts speak at a “lunch and learn”, an Earth Day related event, or even your community library.
Last October, I wrote an article about the Environmental Paper Network, whose paper calculator is linked to on EPA’s website. I mention this because GreenWorksGov’s archives of past blogs are reliable for their relevance to today’s office greening challenges. In that sense, they are not your typical blog, a passing statement that is superseded by the next blog. I encourage readers to browse by category or keyword search to find resources and information from earlier articles that you can apply in your work setting today.
Learn more about the Environmental Paper Network here.