WE have heard that a clean hand saves life. A paperless policy, besides saving life, also saves money. 

Papers are made from trees which provide us with foods, medicines, shelter, and stem soil erosion.

They lock away excessive harmful carbons released into our atmosphere in the process of our economic activities. These trees of life breathe in the carbon dioxide which we exhale and release oxygen which we inhale. 

The heavy use of paper translates to the needless mass killing of trees which leaves a huge toll on the climate and our own survival. 

In this digital age, the unnecessary printing of documents is one of the costliest activities in offices and businesses.

Forbes, the global media company, records that “in the United States, $930 million is spent by government annually on unnecessary printing costs – with $28 million spent on the printing of copies of congressional records, which are available online. For US businesses, the annual cost of filing, storing and recovering paper was estimated to be between $25bn and $35bn”!  

In recent times, however, recycling has somewhat mitigated the threat, but not completely removed it. According to statistics, recycling just one tonne of paper can save 7,000 gallons of water, 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil required to produce one tonne of new paper, three cubic yards of landfill space (because most of the paper end up as mountains of wastes) and 4,000 kilowatts of energy.

Sometime ago, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission set a target to save $1.5 billion in a decade through a decision to go paperless. Under the measure known as Rule 30e-3, all mutual fund shareholder reports previously sent to investors by post were made accessible online. That decision was estimated to save around two million trees each year, apart from saving $1.5 billion. 

If we conduct a honest audit around our offices and homes today, we are bound to find corresponding habits of paper wastage which cost us huge amounts and hurt our environment without us noticing it because the damage occurs slowly.

Going paperless, however, does not mean we will no longer be using paper for daily tasks or even have access to it in our offices.

According to experts, it “means using paper wisely while turning to more secure, ‘paperless’ alternatives for processes that are typically completed manually.

“It begins with our decision to step away from the shadow of paper and into the efficient, cost-effective, and more secure world of digital document management.”

Besides saving money and our environment, a paperless office can also help us establish as environmentally-conscious brands.

It is hard to let go of old habits but to save cost and the earth, let’s ease off on unnecessary paper consumption.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.