How to Go Green Without Going Paperless

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The aim of maintaining a green office is a virtuous one. It’s also a difficult one, considering that printing to paper is not exactly the most eco-friendly practice you can participate in. Even the most environmentally conscious among us will admit that sometimes, you simply have to consume paper in order to run an office. But that doesn’t mean that you have to consume all of the paper all of the time. There are many methods of going green in the office without surrendering efficiency or practicality.

The first is to attempt to achieve something that office professionals have been talking about for years: the dream of the paperless office. One of the most effective paperless office solutions is the use of a paperless scanner, which scans documents into digital format.

Organization, Security

The upside of this endeavor is three-fold. For one, a paperless scanner enables you to develop an efficient data filing system that’s keyword searchable. It also tidies up the office and can shrink your footprint in a manner that wouldn’t otherwise be possible if you had to keep adding racks of filing cabinets to house innumerable receipts and documents. Finally, digitizing your office documentation gives you ample opportunity to give back what you’ve consumed by shredding all that copious paperwork and turning it over to a recycle facility, where it can be put to secondary use.

Storing all of your important documents in paperless format doesn’t also just save physical space and money – it also ensures increased security and is disaster proof. You can leverage password-protected drives to store your important legal documents, keeping them secure from prying eyes, and by also adding cloud backup support, you can ensure that if there’s a fire or other disaster your information will be safe and accessible. This is something continuity of business depends upon, and a practice many large companies employ as a safeguard.

Unfortunately, paperless office solutions don’t work for everybody. And while the truly paperless office may still be years away, there are other avenues that you can pursue to create a greener office environment that isn’t blatantly wasteful.

Duplexing, Energy Star

Buying a printer that’s capable of printing to both sides of a sheet of paper can cut paper waste in half. This is called duplexing — but beware. Not all printers that claim duplexing capabilities are equipped to automatically print to both sides of a sheet. Some even require you to be present to physically turn the sheet over so that printing can resume on the opposite side. Other methods of saving paper waste include altering margins and font sizes on officially printed documents. This is a practice that can conserve lots of paper, especially in the long run.

Another way that you can adopt a greener approach while meeting the demands of a contemporary office is to purchase printers that are Energy Star certified. Other certifications to look for include Blue Angel and Environmental Choice. While all three receive their certifications come from different organizations, they all include energy saving features like automatic shutoff and sleep mode that reduce residual energy consumption.

There are also printers that you can purchase that utilize refillable ink cartridges. Not only does this limit the number of spent cartridges that will find their way to the nearest landfill, but it’s also a practice that is far more economically feasible than purchasing new and expensive cartridges every time the old ones run dry.

Save Space, Energy

Additionally, multifunction printers that bundle a variety of services like printing, faxing, scanning, and copying use significantly less energy than standalone units for individual tasks. One of the other great perks of multifunction printers (often referred to as all-in-one printers) is that they take up less physical space — saving on both overhead operational costs and required real estate.

The reasons to go paperless in the office are numerous, and not all of them are necessarily based in the desire to minimize environmental impact. By definition, paperless offices are smaller. They take up less space, which in turn translates to the ability to run your office without requiring ever-increasing amounts of real estate.

Paper isn’t free and it certainly isn’t cheap. Going green in the office can certainly help save trees, but it can help you save even more where costly office overhead is concerned.


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