How to reduce paper waste in the office – 5 tips

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child playing in tree used to make paperThis week for our ‘change the world wednesday’ challenge, Reduce footprints is getting us to think about paper.

Ya know, that stuff we take for granted that actually comes from erm, trees?

She wants us to take the simple measure of reducing the margins on any printing we do. When you think about it, there’s an awful lot of wastage in margins when you add it all up.

Wasting paper

And how many times have you printed several pages only to find the last page has one sentence, or less, on it?!

That kind of thing drives me crazy.

Paper made from trees

Although rags, cotton, grasses, sugar cane, straw, waste paper, and even elephant dung can be used to make paper; in the UK wood pulp is still the most common source material for the manufacture of virgin paper. It takes 24 trees to make 1 ton of newspaper.

Every year more than 11 million tonnes of paper and board are consumed in the UK, yet less than half of the paper used is recovered and over five million tonnes gets dumped in landfill sites. Once in landfill it produces methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases.

With that knowledge in mind I’d like to throw a couple more tips into the mix for reducing paper waste and saving trees:

Use both sides

1- Print on both sides of the paper. Duplex printers are more expensive, but there is nothing to stop you manually turning over the paper and printing on the other side.

Reuse paper

2- If printing both sides is arduous then create a scrap drawer. All paper that is printed on one side goes in there for the next time you need to jot something down.


3- Ask yourself a simple question “Do I really NEED to print this?” chances are, more often than not, you won’t need to.


3- Recycle all your paper, newspapers and magazines.

Post consumer

4- Close the loop by purchasing recycled paper – look out for as high a percentage of ‘post consumer waste’ as you can.


  1. Going green tips for the office on October 25, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Although computers have taken much of the responsibility of papers, we still are using paper in an enormous quantity, only to waste half of it. This article spreads a very useful message about recycling and reusing waste. We can definitely make a huge impact by following it.

  2. Mrs Green on December 24, 2010 at 6:57 am

    @Going green tips for the office: thank you! glad you found it helpful and please do spread the word about reducing waste.

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