Did you know that Americans use more paper—over 700 pounds per capita yearly—than anyone else in the world? And if you’re wondering what that has to do with environmental concerns, here are a few even more disturbing facts to think about:
- Over one third of all harvested trees are used for paper and paperboard production.
- Consumption of paper has become 4 times higher in the past 4 decades.
- The pulp and paper industry is the 4th largest greenhouse gas emitter among U.S. manufacturing industries.
- It takes about 5 liters of water to produce one piece of A4 paper.
These days, it’s more important than ever for businesses to go paper-free, and not only because of the environmental reasons.
Why recycling is not an option
According to The World Counts, 50% of all waste businesses produce is paper. And many think that in terms of recycling, paper is rather harmless when compared to other forms of waste such as plastic.
Indeed, recycling saves trees from being cut down and prevents waste from occupying landfills and producing poisonous compounds as it breaks down. However, even if properly recycled, office waste still poses danger to the environment because of de-inking. This is the industrial process of removing printing ink from paper fibers of recycled paper to make deinked pulp. De-inking is a major source of emissions due to the chemicals released into the effluent that is created.
Why going paperless costs nothing and saves everything
Paper is robbing us of our productivity. The average employee runs more than 10,000 documents per year. In terms of paper, this costs about $100. If you add in the cost of ink, toner, energy and time spent on searching for documents, manually filling them out and printing, this figure more than doubles.
Almost any paper-based workflow carries a potential threat to data security. Also, it should be taken into account that nearly 15% of all business documents become lost, with up to one-third of an organization’s time being spent on trying to recreate them.
Steps to paperless office success
Let’s see what it actually means to implement a paperless strategy in your office and what practical benefits are behind it:
- Scan every piece of paper you can find in your office. When you scan and electronically save all of your paper forms, you save thousands of critical documents from being lost, stolen, or damaged due to a natural disaster. By the way, we hope you not only scan, but recycle them too.
- Find a digital document platform to store and manage your documents. An average digital document management platform costs less than one-fifth of its paper-based counterpart. This also plays a significant role in sheltering your sensitive documents, preventing disorder and helping you avoid data loss situations.
- Streamline your business workflow by implementing digital signature policies. Digital signatures reduce document turnaround time by 80%. Using the right digital signature platform helps you close more deals in less time, make approvals in a matter of seconds, and make signing easy for customers.
Even if you try out just one or two of these suggestions, you’ll be doing a lot to help Mother Earth. Besides, the “paperlessness” of your business will speak well for your entire company. So prove yourself a socially responsible and solid business player who’s strong enough to inspire change through your own example.