Balaji Rajagopalan

Balaji is a veteran at Xerox and had joined Xerox India (formerly Modi Xerox) 34 years ago as an engineer. He has done his Bachelors in Administration from MKU, Madurai followed by a MBA from IMT, Ghaziabad.

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Save Trees! 5 Ways Your Office Can Battle Paper Wastage

It still takes 12 trees to produce one tonne of paper and the rise of computers hasn’t helped us go paperless go either

Photo Credit : Pinterest,

The invention of computers and the internet era promised us a paperless society. But sadly, that hasn’t happened. Instead the world is using more paper than ever before.

Despite the continuous efforts on digitization by the government and numerous companies, a study claims that India’s demand for paper is predicted to rise 53 percent in the next six years. It is expected to rise from the current 13 million tonnes (mt) to approximately 20 mt by 2020. This emphasizes the importance of paper as a major constituent of everyone’s daily lives.

Whether through necessity, preference, or a combination of both, this number is a phenomenal amount and even with the newest, proficient ways of papermaking, it still takes approximately 12 trees to produce just one tonne of paper – which means a lot of trees are cut down each day to supply paper to the world.

‘Paperless office’ – an office of the future, was a term in vogue with the onset of internet and technological advancements in electronic communication and record keeping in the early 1990s. However, soon enough, organizations realized that the internet has only increased printing needs of an enterprise.

Emails, which are the official means of communication are also printed apart from an increased need to print web pages, official letters, documents, presentations, charts, account statements etc. In fact, a research done by Quocirca revealed that 73 percent of organizations involved in the financial sector, 41 percent organizations of the public sector and an overall 30 percent of organizations considered printing to be an integral part of their business processes.

Today, as our Government strengthens its focus on “Digital India” and is driving it with greater vigor, it is high time we make ‘Green Offices’ a reality. Moreover, printing not only has serious consequences on the finances and the environment, it also exposes the organization to a huge potential document security risk.

Xerox India lists down five easy-to-adopt strategies to ensure judicious and wise usage of paper:

1. Re-use and recycle: Provide clearly labelled recycling bins near printers and copiers to facilitate paper collection. Use the blank sides of unwanted single-sided printed copies for printing drafts, annotating or for mere reading purposes.

Larger workplaces can also designate a printer and use only used paper in its paper tray. Several researches and experiences prove that recycled paper has the capability to meet the same performance standards as that of non-recycled paper. Recycled paper leads to 73 percent less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials and for every one ton of recycled paper which is used, paper manufacturers can avoid the use of 3.5 tons of virgin fiber.

2. Print on both sides of paper: Wherever possible, use the ‘scan and send’ option on your printer. In cases where printing is inevitable, a simple way to effectively reduce paper use is by taking advantage of the “duplex” function available on office printers, multifunction systems and copiers, particularly for conventional documents like e-mail and memos. Another reason to adopt this practice is it also saves energy. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that manufacturing a sheet of paper requires 10 times more energy than making a copy.

3. Choose paper manufactured from environmentally responsible suppliers: It’s important to know that not all paper created follow the same environment-friendly steps. Thus, plan and thoroughly research your paper brand’s environmental policies and ensure they are aligned with your company’s values.

4. Learn and ensure proper handling: Despite its ‘plain’ look, paper is a meticulously engineered product whose imaging performance can be well affected by curl, humidity and other factors. To prevent wastage due to these reasons, ensure it is kept sealed until required for loading. Make sure you follow the directions printed on the packaging to ensure the proper side of the paper is facing up.

Also avoid moisture absorption by placing paper boxes on shelves or pallets and not on the floor. The storage area is critical as well. Choose a storage area that is well protected from humidity and extreme temperatures, and always prefer a well air-conditioned area as it helps provide the required balance.

5. Managed ‘Print Strategy’: Deploying a managed print strategy is a logical sequence of events that begins by conducting a comprehensive evaluation of the print environment, document infrastructure, and workflows and giving an accurate baseline of a company’s current print spending.

Similar to outsourcing non-core functions like coffee service, a managed print services provider can manage an organization’s fleet of printers on a usage-based model which includes everything a business needs: supplies, service and support. They develop a roadmap for ideal future printing management state, including cost savings projections which can improve processes and reduce costs, making small and midsize businesses more efficient.

They also regulate the printing by securing printer with an access code and only selected employees can use the printer thereby restricting the unnecessary usage.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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