Dave's Eco-nomics: Stop the paper-chase


Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The paperless office has yet to take root, but the paperless desk is only a couple of minutes away. That's how long it takes the printer-happy among us to scoop up the discarded sheets that threaten to engulf us and chuck them in the recycling bin - only to start collecting again. The recycling bin is a noble addition to any office. The trouble is that, along with its more promiscuous sibling the rubbish bin, it's gobbling up so much paper. Xerox found that the world prints about 2.8 trillion pages each year, 45% of them read only once (if that). Meanwhile, the market for printers grows at 6% per year, boding ill for our dear old trees.


E-mail, text messaging and desktop diaries are all steps in the right direction. Messages that ask: 'Do you really need to print this e-mail?' make a fair point. Where you can, read e-mails, route directions and product info on-screen and copy details into a notebook instead. Senders of e-mails should trim lengthy footers, to save both ink and paper. Where printing is necessary, use recycled paper or brands that carry the Forest Stewardship Council logo - certifying a renewable source. Re-usable paper became a reality last year when scientists developed ink that disappears after 24 hours. If you care about audit trails, though, better stick to conventional printing. Just cut down.


FOUR - time to turn over a new leaf. A virtual one.

- Dave Waller is MT's regular eco-ranger.

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