Conserve Office Paper at Work and School

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

Recycling paper is important, and it's the law in Rhode Island. But maximizing its use before tossing it in the recycling bin saves money and trees. Making and recycling copy paper is energy intensive and produces several harmful emissions. The energy used to make just five sheets of office paper can run an 80-watt light bulb for an hour.

About $4 billion is spent annually on paper for copiers, computers and fax machines. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average office worker uses some 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. That's about 2 pounds of paper and paperboard per day.

Here are several ways to reduce office paper use by 75 percent in your office or school:

Check the owner's manual for making two-sided or "duplex" copies. Older copiers may have to be fed manually.

If printing from a Windows-based computer or Microsoft Office system avoid clicking on “Quick Print.” Instead go to File—>Print—>Printer Properties—>Finishing then click on "Print on Both Sides."

Use the "reduction" feature on your copier to copy two book pages onto one standard 8.5-x-11-inch sheet.

Copy and paste shorter documents and announcements several times on a single sheet of paper and cut them into strips for distribution.

    Post signs at printers and copiers with these tips and reminders to conserve paper.

    Avoid using paper altogether by sending documents via e-mail as a PDF or other attachment.