Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to save paper. In some ways, we’re using more paper — I’ve been tending toward choosing a product packaged in paper over one packaged in plastic, simply because it at least can go in the recycling bin.
But in other ways, I’m trying to cut down. I work at home, so I can control how much paper my office uses, and I’m striving to use less and less:
- I print on the backs of unneeded pages I’ve printed or that I receive from elsewhere (letters in the mail, notices from Little Cheap’s school) rather than using a fresh piece of paper.
- I purchase the highest percentage recycled printer paper I can find, and of course, choose a brand wrapped in paper.
- If, in the past, I would have printed something, I don’t. For instance, if I make an online purchase (from an actual object to re-upping my computer virus protection subscription), where it says “Print a receipt,” I don’t. Sometimes I cut and paste into a Word document and save that. Sometimes I simply e-mail myself the confirmation code, so I can access the page on the vendor’s Web site in case I need to confirm it later. Always, I’m trying to think twice.
- I file e-mails in online folders rather than printing them — realizing that very seldom do I need to view something in hard copy.
- I snag a paper from the recycling bin whenever I think of it to write a note or a shopping or to do list, rather than using a piece of virgin paper.
- I re-use the envelopes I receive with credit-card solicitations for hand-delivered, sealed items. The business manager at my daughter’s school probably thinks I think her name is “Capital One” because she gets those re-used envelopes with our check inside.
stolerecycled a colleague’s message at the end of his e-mails: “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.” His note reminds people to think before printing. (It even uses a neat little widget of a tree with a swirl to look all environmental.)
I understand that saving things on my computer requires energy, but the printing process itself takes resources. In addition to paper, there’s the matter of toner cartridges and power for my little laser printer. (My printer is an Energy Star model that uses 180 watts printing, but plenty of laser printers require 450 watts and more to print that e-purchase receipt.)
What am I missing? How do you view the pursuit of paper-saving?