It is an annual campaign that aims to reduce the amount of paper generated by people in their everyday work and personal life. It was launched by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM).
AIIM is a non-profit organization that provides standards, market research, education, and certification for information professionals. It launched World Paper Free Day in order to raise awareness of huge amount of paper used in vain and to promote paperless technologies.
World Paper Free Day used to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in October, but AIIM has recently moved it to a fixed date, November 6. On this day, businesses and people are encouraged to stop using paper for one day in order to stop being so reliant on paper.
According to research, the average office worker uses about four dozens sheets of paper per day, of which about half is considered waste.
Despite all modern technology, a lot of businesses still have traditional-based filing systems which require considerable space, equipment and maintenance. AIIM encourages such businesses to participate in World Paper Free Day to see the benefits of a paperless office.
Interesting facts you should know:
- By saving a tone of paper, you can save 17 trees, 26000 liters of water, 4000 kilowatt of power supply and 240 liters of fuel.
- A typical office worker produces 160 kilograms of paper waste, 45% of all the papers is thrown away in the course of the day after the printing.
- It takes an average of 5 liters of water to produce one piece of A4 paper.
- Paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste and 33% of municipal waste.
- Every tree produces enough oxygen for 3 people to breathe.
- 93% of paper comes from trees.
- 50% of the waste of businesses is composed of paper.
- Lessening of paper usage was predicted due to the electronic revolution. It didn’t happen. Demand for paper is expected to double before 2030.
Environmental effects of paper waste
Deforestation is the primary effect of our mindless use of paper. Conservation groups have made an admirable headway in protecting ecologically rich forests and limiting commercial access. This is great progress for mankind! Just imagine how long a tree will grow to its full size…. We are only just realizing the wasted use of our trees - trees that give off oxygen and protect the planet from further Global Warming.
Paper pollution is another effect of paper waste and it’s a serious problem. It is estimated that by 2020, paper mills will be producing 500,000,000 tons of paper and paperboard each year! We obviously need this product and a reduction of use is not in the horizon. Pulp and paper is the 3rd largest industrial polluter of air, water and soil. Chlorine-based bleaches are used during production which results in toxic materials being released into our water, air and soil. When paper rots, it emits methane gas which is 25 times more toxic than CO2.
Why is it important to reduce paper use?
To make a difference for the planet and the climate—and to save a lot of money too—reducing your “paper footprint” is the only way to go.
By using less paper, you can reduce your impact on forests, cut energy use and climate change emissions, limit water, air and other pollution and produce less waste. Reducing your demand for paper will also help lessen the social impacts and human rights abuses linked to paper production.
The climate benefits of reducing paper consumption are significant. For example if the U.S. cut its office paper use by just a mere 10 percent, or 490,000 metric tons, greenhouse gas emissions would fall by 1.45 million metric tons. This is the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for a year.
Using less paper also helps ensure we use only our fair share of the earth’s resources. Think how much better the world would be if current levels of paper production were used to make books for schools in poor nations instead of wasted on unnecessary office printouts and junk mail.
Here are some ways you can cut your paper consumption for good and save a ton of money in the process.
- Print all the information you need on both sides.
- Think before you print. Do you really need to print it? Many people have the habit of just clicking the print button whenever they want to read something. This is incredibly wasteful. Reading on a screen isn’t perfect either, but it doesn’t waste paper needlessly. If you have trouble reading on a screen, try enlarging the font in your browser preferences.
- Find alternatives to paper. When possible, use digital services - write emails instead of letters, and encourage others to follow your example.
- Buy recycled paper, when you need it. It may not be as pretty as a100% virgin copier paper, but it serves the same purpose. You can write on it.
- Reduce the use of paper cups and disposable paper plates by keeping reusable items in the office pantry.
- Take advantage of the latest technologies like tablets, computers and smart phones to keep your files and notes.
- Choose products which contain as less packaging as possible, including both paper and other materials.
In general, going paperless helps businesses save space and money, boost productivity and keep information more secure while also making sharing it easier. Besides, paperless offices help the environment: the less paper we use, the less trees are chopped down to make it.